It is a process that has become all too familiar to Cleveland Browns fans.
A game official will make a highly suspect call against the Browns, only for NFL headquarters to come back a few days later and say, “sorry, our bad, that was not a penalty.”
It happened several times in 2018, most notably against the Oakland Raiders in Week 4, when the officials somehow pieced together video to overturn a late run by Carlos Hyde that would have sealed a win for the Browns.
This season, it only took until Cleveland’s first offensive drive of the game against the Tennessee Titans for the officials to make a mistake. Left tackle Greg Robinson was called for an illegal blindside block on the sixth play of the game that wiped out a 14-yard completion to wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
To no one’s surprise, the league came back this week and told the Browns that there should not have been a flag thrown on Robinson, offensive coordinator Todd Monken revealed on Friday, according to ohio.com:
“I do not know if we are at liberty to talk about it, but they came back to us and said it should not have been called. Obviously, we could have done a better job with Greg being flat and [wide receiver] Odell [Beckham Jr.] bringing the defender to Greg. If we do it technically better, then that is not even a factor.
“In their minds, it was not forcible contact is what I remember from looking at it. There are multiple ones every week in our game and other games where they mention, ‘They should have called this. We will talk to the official.’ That is part of it. They are human.”
The Browns ultimately scored a touchdown on the drive so the call did not cost them, and it is nice that the team is not using the mistake as an excuse. But it is still frustrating that this continues to happen league-wide on a regular basis.
Speaking of Robinson, he is expected to be fined after being ejected from the game for kicking Titans safety Kenny Vaccaro in the helmet. Oddly enough, Robinson said he will appeal the fine, which is his right, but it is hard to see the league overturning that one.
Robinson is not the only member of the Browns that might hear from the league office this week regarding a fine.
It is possible that defensive end Myles Garrett could be fined for slapping Tennessee tight end Delanie Walker, as could defensive tackle Devaroe Lawrence after he was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for cursing at a ref.
Defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson has already been notified that the league will fine him for a roughing the passer penalty against Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota. It was one of the softest roughing calls imaginable and Richardson plans to appeal, according to ohio.com:
“I pushed a dude. $20,000 gone down the drain ’cause I pushed somebody playing football — it’s crazy.”
Safety Jermaine Whitehead also picked up a roughing the passer penalty on a hit that was far more aggressive than the one Richardson was flagged for, but said he will not be fined for it.
Such is life in today’s strange and uneven world of NFL officiating.