The Browns suffered another heartbreaking loss Sunday, and this time around, it's possible the loss could have been avoided if their holder and long-snapper had been on the same page during Cade York's game-tying field goal attempt, which came with just over two minute remaining.
With the Browns trailing, 23-20, late in the fourth quarter, Jacoby Brissett drove the team down to Baltimore's 37-yard line with just 2:10 left to play. At that point, the Browns drive stalled, so they sent York out to attempt a 56-yard field goal. Unfortunately for the Browns, they were hit with a false start penalty that moved the kick back five yards (more on that penalty later).
Due to the penalty, York was supposed to be attempting a kick from 61 yards, but that's not what happened. Instead, the Browns' holder (Corey Bojorquez) knelt down at the 50-yard line, which made it a 60-yard field goal. On one hand, it might sound like a good idea to move your kicker one yard closer when you're attempting a field goal from that distance, but in this case, the move backfired.
DEFLECTED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 23, 2022
Tune in on CBS! pic.twitter.com/UHG5Ctg2wU
That is Baltimore's Malik Harrison blocking the kick.
Under normal circumstances, a holder will line up eight yards behind the line of scrimmage on all field goal attempts, and one reason they do that is so the kick doesn't get blocked. With Bojorquez only at seven yards behind the line of scrimmage, that gave the Ravens a better chance to block the kick, and they took full advantage of that.
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski was asked Monday why Bojorquez lined up closer than usual on the field goal, and he didn't offer a great answer, pinning the problem on both Bojorquez and long-snapper Charley Hughlett.
Stefanski asked about lining up a yard closer than usual on the FG that was blocked.— Zac Jackson (@AkronJackson) October 24, 2022
“Just something with Charley (Hughlett) and the holder (Bojorquez) that we gotta work through.”
Your guess remains as good as mine.
It was a bizarre answer because it's not an issue the Browns should be dealing with at this point in the season. To add insult to injury, York was adamant that the field goal would have gone in if it hadn't been blocked.
"To be honest, it was 60 yards and a little bit into the wind and left to right, and I had to drive it and it came off the foot really well and I promise you, it was going in if the guy didn't block it," York said following the game (via Cleveland.com).
Back in Week 1, York kicked a game-winning 58-yard field goal against the Panthers, and as you can see below, Bojorquez was lined up eight yards behind the line of scrimmage. The snap came from the 40, and Bojorquez put it down at the 48.
Rookie kicker Cade York gives Cleveland the lead from 58 yards out!— NFL (@NFL) September 11, 2022
📺: #CLEvsCAR on CBS
📱: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/4gWBg2qtZo pic.twitter.com/xOX3uRgBW4
What's not clear this time around is whether Bojorquez was told to line up closer or whether he made the decision on his own.
Before the 60-yard attempt, the Browns were actually going to attempt a 56-yard field goal, but they got called for a false start. In the video below, you can clearly see that Bojorquez is set up for a 56-yarder, so if the Browns got hit with a five-yard penalty, that should have moved the kick back to 61 yards.
THE BROWNS DIDNT MOVE @NFLOfficiating pic.twitter.com/QmR4BTCIds— McNeil (@Reflog_18) October 23, 2022
The false start itself was a controversial penalty, with many Browns fans feeling that the Ravens should have been called for defensive offsides. However, as former NFL offensive lineman Mitchell Schwartz noted on Twitter, the refs appeared to make the right call.
There’s multiple things here:— Mitchell Schwartz (@MitchSchwartz71) October 23, 2022
1) It’s slow mo. Snapper dips his head and moves the ball much quicker in real time.
2) Ravens are in the neutral zone but that isn’t a penalty by itself.
3) TE spot on the left DOES move before Baltimore DL touches OL, which is a false start. https://t.co/cbKZiLwEoc
Dunn was officially called for the penalty, and as the video below shows, it was pretty clear that he moved his right foot.
Michael Dunn is inside of Harrison Bryant on the left. He moves his right foot. Because he’s more than two players away from the Rats player that came into the neutral zone, he gets called for false start. He’s too far away to blame his movement on reacting to the defender. pic.twitter.com/vq9SRnZ1xE— 🇺🇸BROWN SPIDER ADVENTURES!!!🇱🇷 #D4L (14-3) (@BrownSpiderCLE) October 24, 2022
The five-yard penalty should have set up a 61-yard field goal, but the Browns cut a yard off the kick, which likely played a part in the kick getting blocked. It's a bizarre way to lose a game, but it shouldn't be surprising, because the Browns have continuously found bizarre ways to lose this year.