Monday, November 08, 2004

Late Pass to Shea Foiled

By Steve King, Associate Editor

BALTIMORE – It was a nightmare come true.

The Browns were driving for the tying touchdown in the final minute against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night. There was a TD that ensued, all right, but it was the Ravens and not the Browns who scored.

On second-and-goal from the Baltimore 5 with 45 seconds remaining and the Browns trailing 20-13, quarterback Jeff Garcia threw to tight end Aaron Shea at the goal line on a quick slant. The ball went off the hands of the diving Shea and into the those of safety Ed Reed, who played for Browns coach Butch Davis when he was at the University of Miami.

Reed made the interception by grabbing the ball inches off the turf and raced 106 yards – an NFL record – for a TD that made the final score of 27-13.

What also entered into the play was that middle linebacker Ray Lewis, who also played for Davis at Miami, appeared to interfere with Shea. He looked to have his right arm wrapped around Shea’s stomach before the ball got there, but there was no call.

After all, this is Baltimore and Lewis is one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history. There isn’t going to be a call in that situation.

“I thought the guy got there early,” Shea said. “If that’s what pass interference is, then it was pass interference.

“The ref didn’t call it, though, so, in reality, it wasn’t interference. They picked it off and ran the other way for a TD. But I still should have caught it. I think I should catch everything that I get my hands on.”

Browns middle linebacker Andra Davis was more decisive with his comments about the play.

“Ray Lewis grabbed Aaron then threw him to the ground,” Davis said. “Everybody saw it. We just didn’t get the call.”

Browns coach Butch Davis also defended Shea, saying, “It’s hard to catch the ball when the guy’s dragging you down.”

Was it interference?

“Yes, but they don’t let me officiate,” the coach said.

It was a shame the game had to end that way. With three gutsy third-down conversions on a 13-yard pass to Frisman Jackson, a four-yard run by Garcia and a 15-yard pass to Antonio Bryant, the Browns had moved from their 41 to the 5 in 11 plays.

Then, after Lee Suggs was stuffed for no gain on first down, they got the matchup they wanted with Lewis on Shea.

“Aaron sold the play to the outside and then had Ray beat going back inside,” Garcia said. “Unfortunately, it just didn’t work out.”


Monday, November 01, 2004

Demotion?

Some words from nfl.com:

The Browns didn't come off their bye week quietly, as free safety Earl Little made his feelings clear about being demoted in favor of Chris Crocker.

"Is it fair?" Little said Monday. "Honestly, I don't think so."

As proof, Little offered the grade sheets from each game. He held them in his hands, and said they showed he has not been making mental mistakes this season.

To buttress his claim, Little said he made none of the 35 mental errors attributed to the defense in the loss to Philadelphia, had one mental error against Baltimore and none against Cincinnati, when he graded out at 100 percent.


So... what do you think? Who deserves it more?