Brandon Staley: Browns were smart, we didn’t think they could pull Austin Ekeler into the end zone

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A strange situation unfolded late in the Chargers’ win over the Browns on Sunday: Trailing 42-41, the Chargers had first-and-goal with 1:31 remaining in the game and the Browns were out of timeouts, so the Chargers decided to simply run out the clock until they could kick the game-winning field goal as time expired. Unfortunately, Chargers running back Austin Ekeler scored a touchdown that he didn’t want to score.

That happened because the Browns’ defense dragged Ekeler into the end zone when he was trying to stop on the 1-yard line. That gave the Chargers a 47-42 lead, but it also gave the Browns the ball back with plenty of time to potentially drive down the field for a touchdown of their own. Although the Chargers held on to win, Chargers coach Brandon Staley admitted the game that things didn’t go according to plan.

“That’s one of those situations where we instructed him not to go into the end zone, and he did a great job of stepping up and giving himself up before the end zone. The Browns grabbed him and brought him into the end zone,” Staley said. “That’s a smart play by them. That’s something that we have to talk about and continue to develop so that we can be better on that in the future.”

Staley said he thought that once Ekeler attempted to give himself up, the play should have ended because Ekeler had stopped his own forward progress. Staley admitted he didn’t realize the Browns could keep the play going by pushing Ekeler into the end zone.

“I have to get a ruling there. It was my interpretation you can’t be pulled in. You can see that Austin’s clearly trying to go down,” Staley said. “I feel like I need to get an interpretation on that. I certainly did not want to go in on that one.”

Staley acknowledged that perhaps he should have just called for quarterback Justin Herbert to kneel down.

“We were trying to finish the ball game without any time left,” Staley said. “That’s just not the way it happened.”

Brandon Staley: Browns were smart, we didn’t think they could pull Austin Ekeler into the end zone originally appeared on Pro Football Talk