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Power Play of the Week: Dawson's Onside Kick

This is the first in a five-week series of posts that we'll be doing that looks back at a "powerful" play from this past week. What defines a "powerful" play? The definition I am giving it is synonymous with the meaning of "play of the week," so that way these posts will always have a positive spin.

When the Cleveland Browns scored their first touchdown in the fourth quarter with just over a minute to go, how many other fans went through this process?

  • First Thought: "Well, at least the score will look 'respectable.' Wouldn't it be something if we could recover this onside kick...
  • Second Thought: "...but it doesn't seem like the Browns have had many successful onside kicks lately when the other team knows its coming..."
  • Third Thought: "...HOLY CRAP, WE GOT IT!"

Despite everything that had happened earlier in the game, a sense of confidence came over me. I thought the Raiders would be stunned at what had just transpired and that the offense would rally for another quick score. It sounds ridiculous to say that they could score a touchdown within a minute after struggling most of the game on offense, but hey, the end of the fourth quarter is a whole new ball game at times.

The catalyst for setting up that play was Phil Dawson, of course, since he was the guy kicking it. It looked like the original intention was for Joshua Cribbs to dive and catch the ball just as it went ten yards, meaning that timing was 100% critical for it to work. I thought it deflected off Cribbs, but upon replay, he just barely missed it. Thankfully he did, because the timing showed that he would've touched the ball about a half yard too soon.

Instead, the ball bounced right into the hands of rookie cornerback James Dockery, who had already notched two special teams tackles. I'm not sure what the rule is on the kicking team advancing the ball once they recover it, but if the player is allowed to catch it and just keep running, wouldn't that have been something? Dockery made sure he went to the ground to secure the ball, which is probably what was pounded in his head during practices, but it did look like he had a whole heck of a lot of real estate in front of him.

Even though the play didn't lead to a victory, it almost put us in position to make things very interesting in overtime. That's why it is this week's Power Play of the Week.