A very shorthanded Cleveland Browns squad faced off against the New York Jets on Sunday.
Late in the first half, the referees blatantly assisted New York on a play that clearly should have gone the other way.
Jets quarterback Sam Darnold took the snap and prepared a throw, but before he could, Browns defensive end Myles Garrett came in and stripped the ball.
Rather than giving Garrett credit for knocking the ball loose before Darnold’s arm started coming forward, the officials ruled it an incomplete pass.
Pretty much everyone agreed that the call was botched.
Unless a pass is very clearly incomplete, IMO it should be ruled a fumble. That way, replay can correct it if the arm is moving forward with control of the ball. It looked to me like Sam Darnold lost possession of this ball in #CLEvsNYJ prior to his arm coming forward. pic.twitter.com/JrbUtDp7QX
— Gene Steratore (@GeneSteratore) December 27, 2020
If the officials had let things play out as they should have and simply ruled it a fumble, the Browns would have been in position for an easy score.
Instead, they are down 20-3 with five minutes left in the third quarter.
While the Jets are terrible, their success against Cleveland on Sunday is unsurprising.
The Browns’ roster was ravaged heading into this outing, with four of the five receivers on the squad’s active roster being placed on the on the reserve/COVID-19 list.