Monday, December 9, 2013
Upon Further Review: Browns Week 14
By Pat McManamon
An examination of four hot issues from the Cleveland Browns' 27-26 loss to the New England Patriots:
What they said: The two penalty flags thrown against the Browns late in Sunday’s loss drew a lot of ire from the fans, and some grumbling from the team. Paul Kruger said both calls were “terrible,” and coach Rob Chudzinski said he disagreed but added: “At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what I think.” Of the hit on Julian Edelman in the back of the end zone, Jordan Poyer said he hit Edelman shoulder to shoulder and added, “Any time the refs see the defender go high, I guess they’re going to throw the flag.” Of the 29-yard pass interference call that set up New England’s game-winning score, Leon McFadden simply said, “I thought it wasn’t pass interference.”
Onside kick: The Patriots also were able to recover an onside kick with one minute left when Fozzy Whittaker hit the ball first and didn’t recover it. Whittaker said he wasn’t trying to recover the ball, just block kicker Stephen Gostkowski so one of his teammates could get to the ball. Whittaker thought Gostkowski touched the ball before it went 10 yards. “We were outnumbered on that play and so really it was just going in there trying to hit somebody off so we could still have a shot to get it,” Whittaker said. “I wasn’t trying to field it or anything like that. I was just trying to get other people out of the way. The referee saw, I guess it hit me ... I don’t know.”
Strong showing: Lost in the loss was another huge game from Josh Gordon and perhaps a more impressive game from Jason Campbell, who had a 116.8 rating after throwing for 391 yards and three touchdowns -- after he practiced at full speed just one day. He also picked up yards on the ground, reconfirming he didn’t run against Cincinnati because of his injured ribs. Campbell’s game was reminiscent of the way he played against Baltimore and Kansas City.
Cundiff short: Campbell also got the Browns into position to at least try a long field goal to win. Campbell drove the Browns 30 yards in 30 seconds, and Billy Cundiff tried a 57-yard field goal on a play that started with one second on the clock. His range pregame was 52 or 53, so the kick was a long shot. It was on target, but just short. “If I could have that ball the rest of the year for every kick, I would be happy,” Cundiff said.