The Ravens led by seven with 3:53 left. The Browns faced fourth-and-2 at their own 28-yard line. Surely they wouldn't go for the first down in that situation, right? After all, they still had two timeouts and had held the Ravens for most of the middle two quarters without a first down. If they punt, hold the Ravens again and force a Ravens punt, they would get the ball back with probably about two minutes left, down seven.
Wait a minute. They are going for it?
Sure enough, Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden lined up in the shotgun formation. It seemed like a ploy to try and draw the Ravens offside.
Except Weeden indeed took the snap, fired a slant for Greg Little that sailed high and essentially ended the game. Already in field-goal range, the Ravens ran three plays, Justin Tucker kicked a 43-yard field goal with 2:49 left and the Ravens had the final 10-point margin of victory.
The second-guessers in Cleveland will have a field day with this one.
What in the name of Leroy Kelly was Browns coach Pat Shurmur thinking?
"It felt like we had a play that we liked and we didn’t execute it well," Shurmur said.
Little, who the play before had gained just 2 yards on third-and-4, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer after the game that, "I was open" on the fourth-down play. "(Weeden) missed me. Ninety-nine times out of a 100, he makes that throw."
Little is surely sticking up for his quarterback, but nearly every factor -- score, time, field position, timeout situation, flow of the game -- screamed for a punt.
"Had we converted it and we moved forward," Shurmur said, "then it would have been talked about on what a gutsy move it was, right?"