One play can change a game.
Browns center Cameron Erving learned that the hard way Sunday afternoon.
With the Browns trailing 13-10 with 10:50 to play in the third quarter, Erving put an end to any momentum the Browns had built up when he over-shot Griffin with a shotgun snap. Griffin raced to the back of the end zone and kicked it past the end line for a safety putting the Eagles up 5 and giving them the ball on a free kick.
After the 29-10 loss to the Eagles, Erving took responsibility for the gaffe.
“I’m very tough on myself because, I want my teammates to be able to depend on me,” Erving said. “I definitely take responsibility for it but, I can’t think about that next week. I can’t think about that practicing this next game against Baltimore. We have a good team rolling in and we have to go out there and be focused.”
It marked the second time Erving has chucked a ball over Griffin’s head. An errant snap in their preseason game with the Falcons cost the team 25 yards in field position.
“We’ll fix it,” Griffin said. “I talked to Cam and we are relying on Cam a lot this year, and he knows that. He’s a big part of our offense. Him and myself touch the ball every single play, so we’ll get it handled and get it fixed, and I’ll make sure that happens.”
Head coach Hue Jackson, who tried to minimize how significant the issues with Erving are, conceded the play was a game-changer.
“All of a sudden we had a ball snapped over the quarterback’s head,” Jackson said. “I thought that’s when it kind of tilted and started going the other way. I thought momentum was kind of coming our way. It would have been nice to finish that drive with a touchdown.”
The Eagles Marched right down the field with a 9-play 73 yard drive capped by Carson Wentz’s 35-yard TD toss to receiver Nelson Agholor to extend the lead to 22-10 advantage midway through the quarter.
For all intents and purposes the Browns were finished.
My Bad – Jackson took the blame for the Browns’ failed fake punt attempt early in the second quarter.
“Totally my responsibility,” Jackson said. “It doesn’t matter what the circumstances were, we didn’t get it done right. It put the defense in a tough spot.”
Punter Britton Colquitt lined up like a tight end, offset from the line, with running back Duke Johnson in the backfield. The ball was directly snapped to Johnson, who appeared confused on the play, and he was quickly dropped for a loss of 6 giving the Eagles superb field position at Cleveland’s 41.
“It was something that we saw in their protection unit that we thought we could exploit,” Jackson said regarding his decision to opt for the trickery. “And again, I take responsibility for that. It’s not on those guys, it’s on me.”
Carson Wentz promptly hit Jordan Matthews for 28 yards on the next play but the Browns’ defense was able to hold the Eagles to a 22-yard field goal leaving Cleveland in a 10-0 hole they never escaped.
Domination – The Eagles won in just about every statistical category Sunday.
First downs: 23-14, third down conversions: 5/15-2/10, total net yards: 403-288, net rush yards: 133-120, net passing yards: 270-168, No. of plays: 73-50 and time of possession: 39:20-20:40.
Week 1 For Everyone – In the final minute of the first quarter, Eagles kicker Caleb Sturgis missed a 46-yard field goal wide right, but the officials stationed under each upright initially disagreed as to whether or not the kick was good. The official on the left side signaled that it was good while the one under the right upright said no. After a brief discussion, the kick was ruled no good.
Honoring 9/11 – Sunday marked the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11th attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania.
Vice president Joe Biden attended Sunday’s game and participated with 120 first responders in holding the giant American flag that covered the field. After seeing Eagles players also helping to hold the flag, several Browns players helped hold it on their own sideline.
Prior to the Anthem left tackle Joe Thomas led the Browns on the field by carrying a flag from the Ohio Fallen Heroes Memorial.
Quote of the Day – “We have stuff to work on. That’s it,” receiver Corey Coleman on the Browns 29-10 loss to Eagles
Injury Report – Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III (sprained left shoulder), safety Derrick Kindred (ankle).