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NFL offers explanation for overturned first down in Browns loss

Browns appeared to have game won before replay official went to great lengths to overturn the call.

The Cleveland Browns were on the short end of one of the strangest replay reviews in recent NFL history.

After running back Carlos Hyde appeared to achieve what would like have been a game-clinching first down with 1:32 left on the clock, the on-field call was reversed by the replay official, who called for a review of the play.

The call was overturned, Browns National howled in disbelief - as did many non-Browns fans - and the Browns would eventually go on to lose the game in overtime.

On Monday, the NFL came up with an explanation for why it overturned a play that did not seem to have enough evidence to change the on-field call of a first down.

According to an article by ESPN’s Kevin Seifert, an NFL spokesman said the replay official “pieced together” two angles of the play to come to the conclusion that Hyde was short of the first-down marker:

”From the line feed, you can see the line to gain is just past the 19-yard line. One replay angle shows [Hyde’s] wrist and the elbow hit the ground simultaneously. Then when you go back to the line feed, you see the wrist hit the ground and you know the elbow is down. At that point, you are able to clearly see that the ball is short of the line to gain.”

Seems like the replay official did a lot of extra work to try and find a reason to overturn the call.

Browns head coach Hue Jackson took the right approach about the questionable decision during his Monday press conference, according to

What we understand is let’s take it out of the officials’ hands. Let’s play well enough and put ourselves in the best situation so that it is not even question about a call. Let’s do our part better. Let’s not turn the ball over. Let’s get more turnovers. Let’s make third-and-1. Let’s make sure that we are better on third down on offense. Let’s see what happens then. I think that we will be happier about that.”

The replay was far from conclusive and it was surprising to just about everyone when the call was overturned. But that doesn’t mean the Browns defense has to turn around and let the Raiders drive down the field for a touchdown and two-point conversion to tie the game.

Even so, this is one of those games that is going to sting for a while.