Skip to content

Terrelle Pryor on fumble: “There’s no possible way” Washington recovered it

i AP

One of the strangest plays in recent memory happened in Washington on Sunday, when Browns running back Duke Johnson fumbled, quickly emerged from a developing pile of bodies, and showed the ball to the world while an official unbundled the scrum and awarded possession to the defense.

“The refs thought the ball was still down there,” Browns receiver Terrelle Pryor said on Wednesday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio and NBCSN. “We were tapping the refs, and me and Duke were holding the ball and I was like, ‘Ref, ref! We got the ball right here! We got the ball right here! And . . . I don’t know. There’s no explanation.”

Pryor said that Sarah Thomas, the official who made the call on the field, explained that the defense had secured the ball.

“She told me that Josh Norman had the ball, and he had possession of the ball, and then Duke took it off of him,” Pryor said. “That’s what she said, but there’s no possible way, how fast Duke had the ball that you can say that.”

Pryor is right. If Norman somehow had the ball — and no available visual evidence shows he did — he didn’t have it for very long at all. And he definitely didn’t have it long enough to, say, make a catch.

Really, if a player is required to secure possession, get two feet on the ground, and keep the ball long enough to have the chance to engage in one or more various football-related moves to complete the act of receiving the ball, a player who purports to recover a fumble should have it for longer than the blink of an eye.

It’s one thing for a player to emerge from the bottom of the pile with the ball long after possession has been awarded to the other team by the officials. It’s quite another for the player to spring up with the ball before the pile has even fully formed. That’s what happened here, and the Browns should have kept the ball.

NFL senior vice president of officiating Dean Blandino has admitted that the contrast of Johnson holding the ball and Thomas seemingly searching the pile for possession and awarding it to Washington is a “bad visual.” Indeed it is; it’s also a very unfortunate outcome that will do nothing to bridge the gap between things fans and media see on TV and things the officials see (or they think they see) on the field.

Of all the potential reasons for the decrease in TV ratings, the disconnect between what we see and what we’re told we’ve seen presents the greatest threat to public confidence in the sport and its perceived integrity. Although I fully and firmly don’t believe NFL games are in any way fixed, plenty of fans unreasonably claim from time to time that they are. This is precisely the kind of play that makes it hard to get them to realize that the fix isn’t in, and that really bad calls simply happen from time to time, without any grand plan or design or agenda to deliver any specific outcome.

Permalink 68 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Cleveland Browns, Rumor Mill, Top Stories, Washington Redskins
68 Responses to “Terrelle Pryor on fumble: “There’s no possible way” Washington recovered it”
  1. edukator4 says: Oct 5, 2016 11:55 AM

    and no way is a male official going to correct a female official. all sorts of social justice warriors will be screaming from the mountain tops.

  2. alewatcher says: Oct 5, 2016 11:59 AM

    Of all the potential reasons for the decrease in TV ratings, the disconnect between what we see and what we’re told we’ve seen presents the greatest threat to public confidence in the sport and its perceived integrity.

    =========
    This is it in a nutshell. Watching games has become an exercise in frustration. No wonder viewership is down. It’s hard to stay with a game when you see stuff like this, and then having to listen to the excuses and all the handwaving the week after to attempt to justify a wrong call.

  3. skinsrock says: Oct 5, 2016 12:01 PM

    About time the Redskins caught a break. Besides… The refs made up for the call with the Josh Norman fake bow and arrow that was complete BS and the fake holding call against Brandon Scherff on a first down run.

  4. politiciansareallthesame says: Oct 5, 2016 12:04 PM

    Someone had to place a curse on the Browns. They can never catch a break.

  5. grogantomorgan says: Oct 5, 2016 12:04 PM

    Yet another setback to officiating. This call was ridiculous !

    Blandino “Bad visual” …. the fix is in !!

  6. profootball13 says: Oct 5, 2016 12:05 PM

    Is 3 game wonder Pryor now the official spokesman for the Browns?

  7. therealraider says: Oct 5, 2016 12:05 PM

    There is zero accountability on the referees. Last season Detroit lost a game against Seattle because the refs blew a blatant call. They missed the playoffs because of that one loss. Remember the Phantom face mask on Aarons Rodgers? The problem isn’t that the refs make a mistake. The problem is nobody gets reprimanded when they do. In fact their boss Blandido makes excuses and covers for them. ZERO Accountability.

  8. saveusterrelldavis says: Oct 5, 2016 12:06 PM

    for every Cleveland brown loss there has been 4 articles about Terrelle Pryor. It will be nice if he ever contributes to an actual team victory.

  9. LSUStrong says: Oct 5, 2016 12:09 PM

    Because….Integrity!

  10. 12thmangohawks says: Oct 5, 2016 12:10 PM

    Calls in games between two teams of this caliber need not be spoken about later. Move onto a team that matters, like Seattle or Seattle.

  11. liongator says: Oct 5, 2016 12:13 PM

    Might be wiser to spend your time preparing for Brady and the Patriots, or do you plan to whine about the refs after that loss too?

  12. briandorry55 says: Oct 5, 2016 12:13 PM

    I still watch a lot of football, probably a little less this season just because I’m more busy than normal…that said, easily the greatest thing deterring me from the game right now is how awful refereeing has been lately and how dumb the rules are. It seems like there’s flags for nit-picky crap on every other play and they don’t get half of them right. If they’re going to slow down the game for all this nonsense, they need to be able to review everything and get it right. It’s extremely frustrating.

  13. yankeemofo says: Oct 5, 2016 12:15 PM

    Satan lives at the bottom of an NFL pile.

    That said, how can refs whistle a play dead because they’re not in position? They killed the momentum the Pats’ had built on their first offensive spark all day.

  14. mongo3401 says: Oct 5, 2016 12:17 PM

    What the plaster above me said. Agree 100%. With few exceptions the Refs cannot be questioned. That’s wrong. All calls should be reviewable. If the Refs were held accountable you would see better football. The reviews have been fast and quick this season so I don’t see it extending the games long at all. If held accountable there would fewer flags

    Bruce Ariana even admitted he loves the deep pass because 50% of the time he knows he will get a pass interference call. When an NFL coach admits that? Yeah there is a problem

  15. jmuller516 says: Oct 5, 2016 12:18 PM

    Way too MANY flags.. Either call the games the same way on both sides or let them play.

    IE. Giants vs Vikings.. 8 of the first 10 flags were on the Giants.. I know its not done blatantly , but its frustrating seeing 2 and 17, 3rd and 14, 1st and 20 every drive..

  16. weepingjebus says: Oct 5, 2016 12:21 PM

    “There was a brief but intense local cold front centered over the scrum that deflated the ball nearly out of existence while held by Norman, creating the mistaken illusion that the Browns never lost possession.” — Exponent

  17. peytonwantsaflag says: Oct 5, 2016 12:23 PM

    this was an idiotic call that’s actually been a long time coming. Never understood why the league doesn’t penalize players for not stopping in these scrums after the refs continually blow their whistles. Instead you’ve got 60 year old men reaching their arms into these turbulent, violent, ton-plus piles trying to throw these guys off. No wonder they are making calls before they know what’s what.

  18. vancouversportsbro says: Oct 5, 2016 12:26 PM

    They do call way too many flags on everything especially pass interference or defensive holding that favours the offense. This started after the Seattle Denver super bowl.

  19. grumpyoleman says: Oct 5, 2016 12:33 PM

    The Redskins got a huge break with this call against the Cleveland team. The Cleveland team was basically taken out of the game at this point.

  20. patfanken says: Oct 5, 2016 12:34 PM

    What is reprehensible here ISN’T that the refs made a bad call. That happens. Players make bad plays all the time. They are all human. What is inexcusable is that the League, the corruptors on 354 Park Ave, continue their practice of LYING even after indisputable proof shows they are wrong.

    Lying, lying, lying, and then get your sock puppets to repeat the lie without comment and hope it goes away because people have the attention span of a gnat. THAT is what constitutes INTEGRITY in the NFL these days.

    Is it any wonder the TV ratings keep slipping

  21. footballfanatic says: Oct 5, 2016 12:35 PM

    I dont care about either teams, that being said…………. I think washington had possession on the ground and the ball was taken from them so it’s washington ball. BUT the refs weren’t even looking at that, they thought the ball was somewhere else so they couldn’t have made a decision at the time except just going with players reactions.

  22. footballfanatic says: Oct 5, 2016 12:35 PM

    I dont care about either teams, that being said…………. I think washington had possession on the ground and the ball was taken from them so it’s washington ball. BUT the refs weren’t even looking at that, they thought the ball was somewhere else so they couldn’t have made a decision at the time except just going with players reactions.

  23. urbusted2 says: Oct 5, 2016 12:36 PM

    The refs provided an earlier TD drive to the Redskins on an absolutely ridiculous pass interference call on Hayden. He never touched the receiver. The fumble call sealed the deal. That officiating crew shouldn’t work a high school football game. I can’t say the Browns would have won the game, but they played hard enough to deserve the game to evolve on the merits of the on field play.

  24. dsigrey says: Oct 5, 2016 12:38 PM

    They throw way too many flags for phantom penalties and miss legit ones right in front of them.

  25. spunjmunke says: Oct 5, 2016 12:40 PM

    Say good-bye to your $20k, TP. Although I agree with everything you just said.

  26. mrrmiyagi says: Oct 5, 2016 12:43 PM

    I’d like to sincerely thank everyone here and the media to not even once brought up the notion that the ref blowing that call had anything to do with her gender, since we all know plenty of similarly dumb calls have come from the male officials as well. It is encouraging to know that our society has evolved to at least this level of civility. Thank you all.

    Now, let’s work on the Black Lives Matter vs All Lives Matter thing.

  27. madhattter416 says: Oct 5, 2016 12:52 PM

    From bountygate to bullygate and deflategate, the NFL fits its own narrative and the truth is twisted as to what really happened. I stopped watching ESPN 5 + years ago. They talk and speculate but never the facts. Medical records go out to the general public without much thought. React now mentality, and they never then set the record straight. Nor does the NFL.
    Just like what is catch, what is taunting, what is PI, changes from game to game. And like the Browns who recovered the ball? They got jobbed.
    Player suspensions are not equal. You have Ray Rice getting 2 games for beating his then fiancé but Tom Brady getting 4 games for an equipment violation. The bountygate players fought and won their suspensions, but then Sean Payton gets screwed with little to no proof. Fines are suppose to be equal, but again are not.
    I truly don’t believe the NFL anymore.

    And all these plus so much more follow no logic. Player safety, hey I’ve got a great idea let’s play Thursday night. The NFL just keeps spinning their narrative and I’m not buying it anymore. I read about the NFL but have very rarely tuned in this year.
    This just another glaring example of how much the NFL gets wrong and rarely gets it right. No integrity, so how can I not feel as a fan they are trying to sway the outcome of games?

    Thank god it’s time for hockey.

  28. antkowiak666 says: Oct 5, 2016 12:54 PM

    Game has come to a snail’s pace and is unwatchable……on a happy note,the NHL starts Wednesday!

  29. jackedupboonie says: Oct 5, 2016 1:05 PM

    Blandino ‘ what was the call, I missed it, oh so it was called a recovery for the Washington team.’
    Official ‘ yeah Dean, do your thang.’
    Blandino announcement…’I know what it looked like, but I believe the rule was followed correctly. I have full faith in our officials and believe their call was the correct call.’

    Blandino after statement….’no way, now explain to me what happened again, I’ve never seen that call made.’

  30. margoadams says: Oct 5, 2016 1:12 PM

    NFL Always Screws Browns & Lions 4 some reason. Pats Fans should be ready for a “makeup” call.

  31. margoadams says: Oct 5, 2016 1:14 PM

    “From bountygate to bullygate and deflate gate” Forgot about BullyGate another NFL Witch Hunt. NFL has been taken over by Social Justice Warriors. I mean Whiners.

  32. whocares69 says: Oct 5, 2016 1:15 PM

    And the NFL wonders why their ratings are down…

    Just change the name to the National Referees Can never be wrong League and be done with it.

  33. fireroger says: Oct 5, 2016 1:16 PM

    Dean – Johnson walked away from the scrum WITH the ball. Why is it so impossible to claim they got the call wrong? For crying out loud. Enough already. The entire NFL is riddled with this type of nonsense.

  34. thepaleskins says: Oct 5, 2016 1:23 PM

    I’m a Redskin fan, but the Browns got totally hosed on that call with NO explanation from the NFL. The week before the Skins made a great interception in the end zone that they ruled incomplete, with NO explanation from the NFL. I’M STARTING TO HATE THE NFL!!

  35. longtimefanh8tr says: Oct 5, 2016 1:23 PM

    “A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody.”
    ― Thomas Paine

  36. footballfan825 says: Oct 5, 2016 1:27 PM

    Maybe if the billion dollar company actually had full time refs. Games wouldn’t be such a joke..

  37. uab9253 says: Oct 5, 2016 1:39 PM

    grumpyoleman says:
    Oct 5, 2016 12:33 PM
    The Redskins got a huge break with this call against the Cleveland team. The Cleveland team was basically taken out of the game at this point.

    ************************
    I see what you did there. Nice!

  38. goodellisagoner says: Oct 5, 2016 1:49 PM

    Pathetic call,she should be penalized.

  39. bighoser says: Oct 5, 2016 1:52 PM

    Time to get those eyes checked, Sarah!

  40. fatguystrangler says: Oct 5, 2016 2:00 PM

    I enjoy that Pryor dropped “That’s what she said” in one of his quotes.

  41. demskinsbaby says: Oct 5, 2016 2:08 PM

    We did recover the ball ..dude reached down and pulled it from the Redskin player at the bottom of the pile. The refs were trying to see who he took it from. Simple!

  42. heymister24 says: Oct 5, 2016 2:10 PM

    What happens if someone screams at the lousy official and she starts crying?

  43. heymister24 says: Oct 5, 2016 2:12 PM

    One of the worst calls/visuals ever.

  44. abninf says: Oct 5, 2016 2:13 PM

    She was in the group who was reassigned last season for poor performance.

  45. boysroll says: Oct 5, 2016 2:24 PM

    worst call ever and this call and the pass interference call gave the game to the skins. they get a ton of calls as their players are really good actors and plain and simple wimps. I think the NFL should penalize teams that embellish just like the NHL as the skins would lose 60 yds a game.

  46. ballboy48 says: Oct 5, 2016 2:26 PM

    Joe Haden’s PI call was atrocious, Sarah, as well. I think Sarah needs to go back to the CFL.

  47. carloswlassiter says: Oct 5, 2016 2:49 PM

    I started watching football in 1968 and I have never seen the Browns get a break. Hey, maybe next year.

  48. outlaw53 says: Oct 5, 2016 3:04 PM

    In this “modern” age of political correctness, no official ( or official’s organization ) will even consider overturning a call from a female ref. That is no knock of female officials in general…but simply a factual representation of the NFL in its current iteration.

    The viewing public has become disenfranchised over the past few season with not only the number of bad calls…but actually the lack of reprimand for those that make those calls. This is only one of the factors which is causing the average NFL fan to become vexed with the “shield”…and its mentor Roger Goodell. From the Kaepernick debacle, to numerous stories of NFL athletes calling individual attention to themselves in any number of ways…to a commissioner who is so out of touch with the public that he seems now in a sort of hibernation.

    For myself, I watch my home NFL team when they are on “free” tv…but not on the NFL Network. I won’t pay to support a system which is inherently flawed…and run by a group of 32 power brokers that refuse to fix it. I know I am not alone in this…as the viewership numbers for the NFL are way down this year, and they will continue to drop as long as Goodell is in charge and the 32 megarich patriarchs refuse to buck the current trend.

  49. dirtydrynn27 says: Oct 5, 2016 3:10 PM

    Get over it Terrell you lose!!!!

  50. rcali says: Oct 5, 2016 3:13 PM

    Poor Cleveland Team, can’t ever get a break but I say they are playing as tough as they could, despite a baseball guy running player personnel.

  51. vavikingfan says: Oct 5, 2016 3:22 PM

    When a team is perceived by the NFL to be a bad team the calls go against them, or if the NFL wants a certain playoff match. If you don’t believe me look back on the playoff games 2 seasons ago when Dallas wasn’t penalized after a flag was thrown against Detroit and Dez stormed on the field to argue with the ref and no helmet on; that set up Ice Bowl 2 and I think we can all remember Dez’s non catch to set up the Packers-Seahawks.

  52. imodan says: Oct 5, 2016 3:28 PM

    All I have to say is the most enjoyable game to watch all year is the Super Bowl, hands down. Why? Because there isn’t a flag on every other play. They let the MEN play football and really that’s all we fans ask for.
    As for reviewing everything? In a perfect world, sure. But since big brother got involved in making decisions on the field from the Ivory Towers in NYC there’s no way I don’t think there’s a circle of guys calling the shots and the outcomes. It’s “just a bad visual” so to speak. I’d gladly go back to the day guys in stripes made the call on the field and if they blew one well that made for great conversation. Today with all the technology available, the constant breaks in the ebb and flow of the game and the continued debate whether the call was right or wrong the game is no longer a game. It’s an opinion. One that given the bad visuals of the last few years certainly leads to many, not a few, believing we are not watching honest sport. It’s money ball now and may the most money win.

  53. TheCakeIsALie says: Oct 5, 2016 3:34 PM

    Like Florio, I also don’t think the games are fixed, but I also don’t gamble on them anymore.

    Between the subjective personal foul penalties that dramatically impact the game and seemingly random criteria for things as simple as a catch or recovered fumble, gambling on the nfl simply isn’t fun.

    I used to watch almost every game because I would have at least $5-$10 on them. Now I just watch my home team 90% of the time.

    Gambling has always driven the NFL’s popularity. To me the TV ratings issue is obvious. The solution is also obvious. If even for public perception reason, fire Goodell the PR guy and Blandino the non-referee. I, for one, may return.

  54. crewchief15 says: Oct 5, 2016 3:34 PM

    Also, not a big thing but that chick ref called Pryor for offside, ok his toe looked to be a bit over the line but had Absolutely NO bearing on the play it’s self. I believe it cost the Browns a first down…should’ve warned him he was getting to close…stupid stuff like that makes me not want to watch some of these games.

  55. mogogo1 says: Oct 5, 2016 3:42 PM

    Mistakes happen but the NFL and its referees never learn from them. In this case it’s been a 100% whitewash trying to justify the call. This ref is never going to be criticized for the call even in private and there won’t be any internal discussions about it to keep the same thing from happening again in the future.

  56. 2manyconcussions says: Oct 5, 2016 3:45 PM

    How on earth does the author of this article get from a bad call on a fumble to the belief by fans that the fix is in? Who are these fans and who is making the case that the fix is in? If there are indeed fans making this argument, it might be nice to let them do the talking. Otherwise, this is just a made up issue, with “plenty of fans” making “claims”.

  57. thermanmerman99 says: Oct 5, 2016 3:48 PM

    Is it a coincidence that since female refs come into the league, the ratings drop and the calls are even worse?

  58. Lemmy Aksyadis says: Oct 5, 2016 3:54 PM

    I just watched the replay for the 1st time. The ref signals Red ball before he could even get close enough to see. By then Pryor had the ball out in his hands.

    Time for a name change to RFL (ridiculous football league). it get’s worse every week.

    But that’s what we get when the people running the league are ignorant of basic science, and big fat liars.

  59. Lemmy Aksyadis says: Oct 5, 2016 3:58 PM

    thermanmerman99 says:
    Oct 5, 2016 3:48 PM
    Is it a coincidence that since female refs come into the league, the ratings drop and the calls are even worse?


    Last season the first call by a female ref in her first game was blown. A punt hit a player on the receiving team. the kicking team recovered but it was given to the receiving team. Even the TV crew noticed but hey, we’re PC baby! We can’t have the first lady call be blown now can we?

    People cal Brady a game manager, we’ll all the best game managers wear stripes, or suits. They don’t eve have to practice. They just make stuff up as they go. Then dump this BS on us.

  60. MichaelEdits says: Oct 5, 2016 4:13 PM

    Every player says every call that didn’t go his way should have gone his play. But in this case, it’s rather difficult to disagree with Pryor.

  61. mattbilleauthor says: Oct 5, 2016 4:23 PM

    So we have reached true equality: female officials make blunders just as big as those committed by male officials. Goodell should’ve just admitted they got this one wrong.

  62. vikingsdefineaverage says: Oct 5, 2016 4:26 PM

    I don’t think the games are fixed. I just think the NFL has grown to the point where it is being run as poorly as any government agency.

  63. vikingsdefineaverage says: Oct 5, 2016 4:29 PM

    crewchief15 says:
    Oct 5, 2016 3:34 PM
    Also, not a big thing but that chick ref called Pryor for offside, ok his toe looked to be a bit over the line but had Absolutely NO bearing on the play it’s self. I believe it cost the Browns a first down…should’ve warned him he was getting to close…stupid stuff like that makes me not want to watch some of these gam
    _____________________
    When they showed the replay Pryor was about a half yard offsides. – I hate Washington

  64. steelerfan63 says: Oct 5, 2016 4:52 PM

    You know how bad it is in Cleveland when Tattoo Pryor somehow becomes you’re official spokesman.LOL.

  65. sfsaintsfan says: Oct 5, 2016 7:38 PM

    I am a life long NFL fan. These are the types of things that move me one step closer to giving up on this league. I had an uncle years ago completely cut himself off from the NFL….he spent the gained time fishing. He caught lots of fish.

  66. BayAreaBrownsBacker says: Oct 5, 2016 9:09 PM

    The point spread was 9 1/2. Browns were down by 4 and driving on Washingtons’ side of the field. They lost by 11. hmmm… Remarkable how accurate the point spreads are against the Browns and Detroit. You might be on to something. I would investigate the betting on these 2 teams over the past 5 years.

  67. crewchief15 says: Oct 6, 2016 7:29 AM

    vikingsdefineaverage says:
    Oct 5, 2016 4:29 PM

    crewchief15 says:
    Oct 5, 2016 3:34 PM
    Also, not a big thing but that chick ref called Pryor for offside, ok his toe looked to be a bit over the line but had Absolutely NO bearing on the play it’s self. I believe it cost the Browns a first down…should’ve warned him he was getting to close…stupid stuff like that makes me not want to watch some of these gam
    _____________________
    When they showed the replay Pryor was about a half yard offsides. – I hate Washington
    ———-
    Not even close to half a yard…

  68. macjacmccoy says: Oct 6, 2016 5:18 PM

    This is what affirmative action gets you. I’m sorry but the worse official group has consistently been the one with someone on it who only got the job because of her gender. It’s not a coincidence.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!