After Further Review: Jets-Browns Officiating

By popular demand, we're again 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 6-51 (leading to one Jets first down)
Jets 7-58 (leading to three Browns first downs)

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

Jets Penalties

  • Mekhi Becton false start.
  • Frankie Luvu tried to run off the field before the snap and didn't make it off so he was flagged both for being offside and for the Jets having 12 men on the field.
  • Another 12 men on the field penalty.
  • Another Becton false start, although this time Trevon Wesco also false started.
  • Delay of game on the placekicking unit before a field goal attempt.
  • Sam Ficken's kickoff goes out of bounds.

Browns Penalties

  • Baker Mayfield false start. Stepped back as he called for the ball to be hiked, but it wasn't. This could equally have been illegal motion.
  • Vincent Taylor offside on an extra point attempt.
  • Elijah Lee false start on a punt. He was lined up at right tackle.
  • Denzel Ward illegal contact on Denzel Mims. This happened offscreen.

Penalties warranting further discussion or explanation

Jets Penalties

  • Folorunso Fatukasi roughing the passer penalty. This seemed harsh as not only did Fatukasi pull up on the hit, he even put his arms out by his side. He and Mayfield bumped into each other and there was incidental contact between the two players' helmets.
  • Blessuan Austin pass interference penalty. From the angles shown this seemed ridiculously unfair. Unless there was a grab that was only perceptible from an angle that wasn't shown, this seemed to be a blown call.
  • Another Fatukasi roughing the passer call. This was less harsh than the first one as Fatukasi again came in high and saw his helmet collide with Mayfield's but this time he also landed on Mayfield and also Tarell Basham hit him low which could also have been flagged.

Browns Penalties

  • Nick Harris clipping penalty on Fatukasi. This could have been clipping or a chop block but the result is the same. Clipping is basically a cut block from behind and a chop block is a cut block when your man is engaged with another blocker. This was timed so it met both criteria.
  • Roughing the kicker on Javonte Moffatt. As Gene Steratore explained, it's an automatic roughing call rather than running into the kicker if you hit the non-kicking leg while the kicking leg is off the ground. Five yards wouldn't have helped the Jets much but perhaps they would have gone for it on 4th-and-6 from the Browns' 45.
  • Kendall Lamm ineligible receiver downfield. This is a timing play where the linemen block and then release. Basham sniffed the screen out and Mayfield couldn't throw that but didn't have time to throw it anywhere else before Lamm was already down the field.
  • Illegal block in the back on Ja'Marcus Bradley. An obvious call, as it forced Bryce Hall to miss a tackle. However, on the same play, Harris was downfield and blocked a Jets player before the ball was thrown so he could have been called for ineligible man downfield or for offensive pass interference.

Notable no-calls

In a scrappy game, there were a lot of controversial moments and it got chippy between the teams. Here were some contentious moments:

  • Darnold had an incompletion upheld by the replay booth but was lucky it wasn't a fumble. This was right on the edge and perhaps would've been a fumble if that was the call on the field. Would it have been a touchdown though, because they blew the whistle before the return man got to the end zone?
  • Olivier Vernon was well out of bounds when he hit Darnold over by the Jets' sideline.
  • Chris Herndon got away with what the Browns' sideline felt was a block in the back.
  • Karl Joseph felt the Jamison Crowder touchdown should've been flagged for being an illegal pick play but the receiver just about made it look like he was naturally running a route and just happened to get in the way.
  • The Browns got away with an obvious illegal shift in the red zone.
  • The Jets snapped the ball quickly after Gore's juggling third down conversion, so the Browns couldn't challenge it, although it looked like he did catch it from the angle shown.
  • The Jets wanted an illegal hit on a play where Braxton Berrios claimed to have made a fair catch signal. This didn't appear to be the case, unless he made the signal really early - before the replay began and before he was on screen on the live footage.
  • The announcers felt Austin could have been flagged for arriving a beat early on a pass he broke up with a hit, but this looked like a bang-bang play.
  • The quarterback sneak was correctly officiated. Had there been more than two minutes left or if Mayfield had control of the ball but was in the process of trying to make a lateral pass to Kareem Hunt when it got knocked loose, it could have been a first down after all.

Let us know what we missed - or misinterpreted - in the comments...