The Cleveland Browns won't care much that the NFL fined William Gay for hitting quarterback Jason Campbell in the head, basically admitting that the game officials missed an enormous call.
Cleveland was trailing 13-3 in a big game against Pittsburgh last week, at the Steelers' 39-yard line when Gay came on a blitz and his arm hit Campbell in the head on a sack. It didn't seem intentional, but it's still a penalty – a much more egregious and obvious call than the game-changing call on San Francisco's Ahmad Brooks a week earlier against New Orleans and Drew Brees.
No flag was thrown. The Steelers returned Campbell's fumble to the 4-yard line, scored the next play, and that was it for the game and the Browns' flickering wild-card chances. Campbell was knocked out of the game on the play.
The NFL fined Gay $15,750 for the shot to Campbell's head. So, hey, sorry Cleveland!
The Browns would have had the ball at the 24-yard line with a first down had the officials not missed the call. It's not easy to get every call right when players are moving so fast, but that doesn't make the Browns feel much better about it.
"The way it’s being emphasized by the league, it should never be missed," Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "And the ones that they’ve made mistakes on is where they’ve gone too far. so this one obviously they didn’t go far enough.''
If the NFL can review frame-by-frame if Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell's helmet popped off before he scored on Thursday night, the league should probably expand replay challenges to include hits like these. This missed call basically ended the Browns' season.
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