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NFL admits call was wrong in Browns’ OT loss: Derek Carr fumbled, play shouldn’t have been stopped

BEREA — The league admitted what the Browns and their fans knew when it happened Sunday.

The officials got the call wrong on what should’ve been a fumble by Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.

Defensive end Myles Garrett and rookie linebacker Genard Avery met at Carr and immediately the ball was knocked loose. Defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi recovered and may have returned it for a touchdown, but the official prematurely ruled the play was over before the fumble.

“We rule the passer stopped for forward progress, and we kill the play,” NFL senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron said on the league’s weekly officiating video sent to media. “This is not forward progress. Obviously, this is a fumble. We should have not have blown the whistle, but because we ruled forward progress on the play, this play is not reviewable.”

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The play started with 6:35 left in the fourth quarter and the Browns ahead 35-34. Although the call was wrong, it didn’t really change the outcome in Oakland’s 45-42 overtime victory. The Raiders punted on the next play, and Nick Chubb scored on a 41-yard run three plays later.

“For the life of me, I can’t understand that call,” Garrett said. “They called it down when the ball was floating into Larry’s hands.

“No, I did not hear the whistle. I did not know that the play was dead. I just turned and saw him running and then eventually he made it 10 yards, 15 yards down the field and they started blowing the whistle.”

“After the ball was stripped out and he started running I just heard it blow,” Avery said.

Garrett said there’s a lesson to be learned from the loss.

“Don’t put it in the refs’ hands,” he said. “Got to go get it again. Gotta make big plays at the end of the game to take their decision-making out of it. And it’s sometimes going to be for you, sometimes going to be against you, but you’ve gotta make sure that leave no doubt for them.”

A more critical call went against the Browns with 1:38 left in the fourth quarter when a replay review overturned Carlos Hyde’s game-sealing first down, ruling the spot was incorrect. The Browns punted and the Raiders scored a touchdown and 2-point conversion to force overtime.

The league stood by that call.

TAKE YOUR TIME

The Browns defenders believe they’ll be able to get home against Baltimore’s Joe Flacco on Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium. He’s been sacked nine times and doesn’t get rid of the ball as fast as Carr.

“Carr’s one of the fastest getting it off and we were split-seconds away from getting to him, so we have to make sure we rush as well as we did last week and we should get there often,” Garrett said.

Avery agrees.

“Their offensive line, they’ve got some key players but it’s a lot of stuff that they do bad on my perspective when I’m rushing,” he said. “They give up the inside a lot. If you collapse the pocket and do your job, because Flacco holds the ball a long time, so in order to do that we’ve just got to do our job and opportunities will come up for sacks.”

INJURY REPORT

Linebacker Christian Kirksey didn’t practice Friday with an illness and was added to the injury report as questionable (50-50 chance of playing). Jackson scoffed at the percentage and said Kirksey will play against the Ravens.

“He has the flu. Really?” Jackson said.

Kirksey was in the locker room after practice despite Jackson saying he was quarantined.

** Free safety Damarious Randall (heel) was listed as questionable but Jackson said he’d play. He was limited in practice Thursday and Friday after sitting out Wednesday.

** Linebacker James Burgess (knee) was ruled out.

OVER THE TOP

Jackson was skeptical of Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale calling Baker Mayfield this generation’s version of Brett Favre and John Elway.

“Tell Don, ‘Thank you,’ but I am not buying that,” Jackson said. “Don is a good man. I have known Don for a long time. Tell him that he is not buttering us up that way. That does not work.

“Baker is going to be what he is going to be. He has a lot of football ahead of him. The guy has played one game. Let’s let it all take its course. You just mentioned two names that are off the charts. If he is, that will be good for everybody, true?”

BE PREPARED

The Ravens have used rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson as a change-of-pace off the bench. He’s rushed 13 times for 62 yards, a 4.8 average, and completed one of four passes for 24 yards with a sack.

“They have used him in a variety of different ways in every game,” Jackson said. “We anticipate that he will be out there, and we have to be ready for it.”

Garrett whistled when asked about stopping Jackson, the No. 32 pick and Heisman Trophy winner out of Louisville.

“Get ready to wrap up, don’t try to dance with him,” Garrett said. “He’s quicker and faster than you think. So if you’re going to shoot your shot and go, try to wall him back inside so the rest of us can take him down, try to strip the ball away. He’s not going to have ball security as well as you’d say a running back or a receiver, somebody that has their hand on the ball all the time. Try to take the ball away from him and force him back to the guys who could wrap him up.”

EXTRA POINTS

The Browns are stacking up the NFL Rookie of the Week awards.

Running back Nick Chubb won the award Friday after rushing for 105 yards and two touchdowns on just three carries vs. the Raiders. Cornerback Denzel Ward was honored for his performance in Week 1 and Mayfield after his debut against the Jets in Week 3.

** Williams appreciates Randall playing through the pain but won’t get carried away.

“If you are looking for sympathy, you aren’t getting none,” he said. “That is what a professional football player does.”

** Two of Mayfield’s best friends from Oklahoma are rookies on the Ravens, tackle Orlando Brown and tight end Mark Andrews.

Browns writer for The Chronicle-Telegram and The Medina Gazette. Proud graduate of Northwestern University. Husband and stepdad. Avid golfer who needs to hit the range to get down to a single-digit handicap. Right about Johnny Manziel, wrong about Brandon Weeden. Contact Scott at 440-329-7253, or email and follow him on and Twitter.

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