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NFL admits it fumbled call in Browns loss to the Raiders

Early whistle cost Browns a sack and fumble recovery in fourth quarter that could have sealed a win.

Cleveland Browns v Oakland Raiders Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns defense had trouble containing the Oakland Raiders offense last Sunday during a 45-42 overtime loss.

Oakland quarterback Derek Carr passed for more than 400 yards, running back Marshawn Lynch had more than 100 rushing yards, and wide Amari Cooper and tight end Jared Cook each surpassed 100 receiving yards.

But it turns out that the Browns were also battling the referees.

The NFL has admitted that the officials messed up in the fourth quarter when referee Walt Anderson blew his whistle too early when Myles Garrett and Genard Avery hit Carr, forcing a fumble that Garrett recovered.

Instead of the Browns having the ball with a little more than six minutes left in the game, Anderson called the play a sack and the Raiders punted on the next play.

Everyone watching the play - other than Anderson - knew it should have been a fumble recovery for the Browns, and NFL senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron admitted as much on Friday, according to an ESPN story:

“We ruled the passer stopped for forward progress and we kill the play. This is not forward progress. Obviously, this is a fumble. We should not have blown the whistle.”

The Browns came out on the short end of another call later in the game when a dubious replay review overturned what would have been a game-clinching first down by running back Carlos Hyde.

It is also the second time this season that Garrett has been involved in a blown call by the refs as the league admitted that a roughing the passer call on Garrett in Week 1 was the wrong call.

The Browns have enough trouble trying to win a game when they only have to beat the opposing team.

Hopefully this week they won’t have to worry about beating the referees as well as the Baltimore Ravens.