Immediately following yesterday's 27-17 Cleveland Browns' loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland head coach Pat Shurmur questioned the legality of the play that put the Bengals in the lead. Shurmur claimed that the Bengals had substituted on the play and the Browns were not given ample opportunity to make their own substitutions.
The play occurred with the Bengals facing a third and 10 at the Browns 41. The Bengals broke their huddle, hurried to the line, and snapped the ball while the Browns were still breaking their defensive huddle. Bengals WR AJ Green was left uncovered and Bruce Gradkowski tossed him the ball downfield allowing Green to stroll into the end zone.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer contacted the NFL to question the legality of the play. After studying the film, a league source responded, confirming that the Bengals had indeed huddled, thus giving the Browns the opportunity to make the necessary substitutions.
The Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot writes: "Instead, the Browns had ample time to substitute after the Bengals changed personnel and snapped the ball with 14 seconds remaining, the league source said.
"The only thing the officials did wrong on the play was not catch the Browns with 12 men on the field, according to the source."
So not only did the Bengals not violate any rules, the Browns were not flagged for having too many men on the field. To his credit, Coach Shurmur admitted earlier today that the fault lay with his team for not paying close enough attention to what the Bengals were doing.
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