Last week, the Browns secured a win over the Vikings thanks to an uncalled instance of pass interference in the end zone. On Sunday, the Browns saw multiple missed defensive fouls late in the game, as they both tried to hold their lead against the Chargers and then to recapture it.
Facing second and 10 after the Chargers had scored a touchdown but missed the extra point, the Browns opted to throw. Along the right sideline, receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones tried an out and up near the sticks, and a pump fake from quarterback Baker Mayfield caused Chargers cornerback Michael Davis to bite. But Davis gave Peoples-Jones a hard shove well beyond the five-yard zone, disrupting Peoples-Jones’s route and forcing Mayfield to move to his next read.
“Might as well just forward the fine letter,” Mayfield told reporters after the game. “We asked the ref on the sideline how the hell he missed that call? I mean, they’re shoving Donovan Peoples-Jones out of bounds and Higgy gets grabbed, so there’s two PIs on one play. They don’t call it?”
Later in the game, with the Browns trailing by five and Mayfield firing a desperation pass on fourth and 10 to the end zone, Davis appears to trip and fall. While doing so, he takes out tight end David Njoku. No flag, again.
A foul on that play would have given the Browns a first down near the end zone and a chance to win the game with a touchdown. On the earlier play, it would have given the Browns a first down and more chances to burn up the remaining time while holding a one-point lead. The Browns got the wrong end of it twice.
The unfortunate lesson to every NFL team is to leave no doubt. To not be in a position to need the officials to, you know, properly do their jobs when assessing whether interference happened.