This Weekend in NFL Stupid highlights the dumbest moments and decisions in football throughout the season. Coming out of Week 4, we’re focusing on what the Cleveland Browns could have done to avoid having to rely on good officiating late in their heartbreaking loss to the Oakland Raiders.
The stupidest of the stupid
The Browns might have gotten screwed when a replay review shockingly reversed a first-down ruling on a third-down play that would have essentially put the game away, HOWEVER…
It might not have come to that had they gone for two after taking a 41-34 lead. Why do coaches do this? A two-point conversion puts a high-scoring game away, while an extra point (far from a guarantee in its own right) merely forces your offensively-charged opponent to score and convert a two-pointer. And that, of course, is exactly what happened.
It might not have come to that had they not ignored Nick Chubb. The rookie running back had 105 rushing yards despite carrying the ball only three times in Oakland. But when the Browns were trying to run out the clock late in the fourth quarter, they gave it to Carlos Hyde on three consecutive plays. Chubb didn’t sniff the ball as Baker Mayfield threw three consecutive passes on Cleveland’s only series in overtime.
It might not have come to that had Mayfield made a smart decision on the penultimate play of regulation. The Browns had the ball at the Oakland 49-yard line with 14 seconds left. Still had a timeout in their back pocket, too. Only needed about 10-15 yards to set up a potential game-winning field goal. But for some reason, Mayfield did this…
— VERSACEBOYENT (@VersaceBoyEnt2) September 30, 2018
That late-releasing, wide-open tight end at the bottom of the screen likely would have gotten them into field-goal range.
Stupid, stupid Browns. Should be 4-0. Instead, still just one win in two years.
You shittin’ me with this decision, Josh Allen? It was still a game!
— Cream City Central (@CreamCityCtral) September 30, 2018
This is a joke, right?
— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) September 30, 2018
- Colts tight end Mo Alie-Cox committed holding on a 2nd-and-1 play in overtime. That is supposed to be the most luxurious play in football, down-and-distance-wise. On a much tougher 2nd-and-11, Andrew Luck was sacked. Two plays later, Indy failed to convert on fourth down and lost. That can’t happen.
- The Eagles punted on a 4th-and-4 on their own 42-yard line while trailing by three points with 2:59 remaining. They were lucky to get the ball back, but that happened with a lot less time on the clock and they could only tie it in regulation before losing in overtime. Not very Doug Pederson-like.
- The Ravens oddly got away from the run and riskily threw the ball twice inside the Pittsburgh red zone in the final few minutes when all they needed was to run the clock and kick a gimme field goal. They were lucky that didn’t cost them. Bad football karma.
Final stupid word
Finally, a special stupid shoutout to New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles, who inexplicably settled for a field goal while trailing by 22 points in the fourth quarter. That move cut the Jaguars’ lead from three scores to…three scores. Good thinking, Todd, and even better thinking when you decided to punt while down by 13 points with 4:33 remaining. Do you really think you’re getting the ball back two more times and scoring two more touchdowns? And it’s not like it was an impossible situation. It was 4th-and-6!
That’s some preseason-level coaching.