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Video of Browns Ethan Pocic’s key penalty for moving the football

The Browns were down 8 to the Rams but this penalty all but sealed the loss

Cleveland Browns v Denver Broncos Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

In most games, there are key moments that make or break the contest. For the Cleveland Browns in Week 13 against the Los Angeles Rams there were three:

  • Dustin Hopkins missed extra point
  • Joe Flacco’s first interception as a member of the team
  • Ethan Pocic’s false start for moving the football forward

Kickers sometimes miss extra points and quarterbacks often throw interceptions (more so for Cleveland) but the Pocic penalty lingered for many fans.

On 3rd and 1 on the 34-yard line, the Browns were inches away from extending a drive while down 27-19. Some would argue that there was a bad spot on the 2nd down play prior but with just inches to go, a challenge seemed frivolous.

Cleveland’s offense moved up to the line of scrimmage with a play designed to get RB Kareem Hunt the football to get those precious inches. Instead, as soon as Flacco called for the snap, the official blew the whistle saying that Pocic moved the football forward.

A look at the video shows that the Browns center does in fact move the football forward slightly twice:

In the era of the “tush push” on short-yardage situations, NFL officials have paid more and more attention to how the center manipulates the football. Whether the above movement impacted the play or not had no bearing on the call.

Pocic was called for a similar penalty the week prior.

Cleveland would go on to turn the ball over on downs without getting another first down. This led to another Rams touchdown and an insurmountable lead. The Browns went from inches to continue the drive to game over quickly after this penalty.


Seeing the video, what are your thoughts on this key penalty?