After further review: Browns/Jets officiating

This season, we're going to have a post after each game that breaks down some of the controversial decisions from the officiating crew in the game.

Penalty Count

Browns 9-85 (leading to three Jets first downs)
Jets 12-89 (leading to three Browns first downs)

Plays where the call was obvious, uncontroversial or not visible on broadcast footage

  • Brian Poole obvious hold away from the ball on 3rd-and-3 that was converted anyway
  • Clumsy block in the back penalty away from the ball by Chad Thomas on a Jets punt
  • Steve McLendon holding penalty upfield on a Browns punt
  • Myles Garrett clearly offside and clearly landed on the quarterback on the hit, leading to a roughing call
  • Blatant hold by Kelvin Beachum as Olivier Vernon got around him - negated 31-yard pass to Robby Anderson
  • Jets delay of game
  • Eric Murray clearly in the neutral zone as the ball is snapped
  • Brandon Shell obvious false start
  • Garrett lands on Siemian again on the play where he was injured, again drawing the roughing penalty
  • Browns delay of game, trying and failing to draw the Jets offside on 4th-and-short
  • Jets delay of game
  • Holding on Greg Robinson, grabbing Neville Hewitt as he blitzed up the middle
  • Illegal double team block called on Bronson Kaufusi on a kickoff
  • Browns delay of game, trying and failing to draw the Jets offside on 4th-and-short
  • False start called on Ryan Kalil, but he was basically the last one to move
  • Browns delay of game
  • Beachum illegal use of the hands call as Garrett's helmet falls off
  • Illegal shift on the Browns
  • Garrett offside again, takes off a beat too soon
  • Jamal Adams blatant encroachment
  • Browns delay of game
  • Mack Wilson helmet-to-helmet hit on Ty Montgomery.

Penalties warranting further discussion or explanation

  • Roughing the passer on Adams on third down. This call was rough because Adams was one step away and couldn't realistically have slowed up and the hit was clean. This cost the Jets three points.
  • Crucial call here on 4th down with the Browns scoring their only first-half touchdown on the very next play. Nate Hairston is called for holding. Clearly he rests his hand on the receiver to keep contact with him, but is there a grab? It doesn't look like it and Hairston's reaction as the pass fell incomplete suggested he wasn't expecting a flag. You be the judge:


  • Beachum was called for a hold as he was backpedaling to repel a Vernon bull-rush. This one seemed harsh as he just seemed to shove Vernon down as he overbalanced and there was no sign of a grab or drag. Either way it wasn't a good rep for Beachum, who ended up in Falk's lap.
  • On the first of his consecutive offside penalties, Adams seemed to time up the snap perfectly. As you can see, the ball is snapped and everyone is still behind the line of scrimmage with Adams, the closest, having taken that last step as the ball was snapped, not before:

Notable no-calls

The first obvious one here is on the Browns' first punt. Braxton Berrios signaled for a fair catch and had to make it with a guy basically sitting in his lap. While they probably flag that if Berrios muffs the catch, that should be fair catch interference and then the Jets wouldn't have had to start that drive inside their 10-yard line. They ended up punting from the end zone and the Browns got the ball back near midfield, setting up their only first-half touchdown.

The officials picked up a flag for illegal contact against the Jets. Obviously they didn't announce a number, but it appears this was initially called on Darryl Roberts. You could perhaps say that Roberts merely stood his ground and Odell Beckham initiated the downfield contact. There was another flag on the Jets anyway, so this didn't help them.

The Jets were arguably lucky not to have flags that would have given the Browns a first down on two third down stops. On one of these, Kyle Phillips appeared to stand over the player who was tackled and may have risked a taunting penalty. On another, the Jets wrapped up the ball carrier but then Adams came flying in late and could easily have been called for forcible contact with the crown of the helmet.

Finally, this was a key play that led directly to the Browns' only touchdown of the first half. Delay of game, maybe?


The views expressed above are opinion only and you are more than welcome to dispute any of this or detail any contentious calls we didn't mention in the comments.