As it turns out, the Stanford-band play that ended Monday night’s game with Browns receiver Josh Cribbs being carted off the field should have never happened.
Not just because the play shouldn’t have been called, but because the Browns never should have been in position to call the play. In fact, the Browns never should have gotten the ball back at the end of the game.
The Browns never should have gotten the ball back because they took — and were awarded — a fourth time out during the second half.
A league source tipped us off to the glitch, and we’ve gone back and confirmed it via DVR and the official play-by-play at NFL.com.
Cleveland took an initial time out with 3:24 to play in the third quarter. The Browns took their second time out with 3:35 to play in the game. And the third time out was used with 3:29 to go.
So when the Ravens had a first down at the Cleveland 39 with two minutes to play, Baltimore should have been able to kill the remaining time with only three snaps (barring an incomplete pass or a run out of bounds).
But the Browns called time out again after the first play following the two-minute warning. As a result, the Ravens turned the ball over on downs with 20 seconds to play, giving the Browns a chance to run three more plays — including the one that sent Cribbs to the hospital.