Refs Blow Browns’ Chance at a Win With One of the Worst Calls You’ll Ever See

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

As most likely suspected, the Cleveland Browns are 0-2 to start their season and already on their second starting quarterback.

But if not for one of the most egregious officiating decisions you'll ever see on the gridiron, they might be 1-1 and in a three-way tie for second in the AFC North.

Trailing the Baltimore Ravens 25-20 with 27 seconds remaining on the opposition's 30-yard line, quarterback Josh McCown connected with wideout Terrelle Pryor for a hookup of about 20 yards, giving the team a fresh set of downs from around the 10-yard line. 

Or so they thought.

After getting up, Pryor attempted to flip the ball to an official, but it slipped out of his hands and so, so lightly doinked Ravens defensive back Lardarius Webb on the head.

A second official, visibly gassed from jogging all of 15 feet up the sideline, saw this as an act of aggression and flagged Pryor for taunting. 

Thanks to an offsetting Baltimore penalty, it was first down on the 30-yard line again for the Browns after. But with three times the distance to travel for the game-winning score and just 20 seconds remaining, McCown's next pass was intercepted, icing the game for the Ravens.

So while the Browns still had a chance to win, and they cerainly weren't assured victory had the officials been halfway competent on Pryor's ball slip, it's a tough pill to swallow at a critical part of the game—and the Browns' season.

"I'm not going to say if it was or wasn't (taunting)," Browns coach Hue Jackson said after the game, according to "I haven't seen it. I've heard different sides of it, but they called it so we have to do a better job of making sure that we get the ball to the official and go from there." 

Normally I'm with Coach on this one—don't even give the refs an opportunity to make a bad decision.

But, short of kidnapping NFL commissioner Roger Goodell until he requires a minimum of one eye and half a brain for each official, there's almost nothing Pryor could have done to prevent the refs from crapping the bed this time around.

"I'm just saying there's other people that can catch a ball and spin it and look at players in the face," Pryor said. "But if I get up and drop the ball—clearly I wasn't trying to drop it on nobody."