GREEN BAY, Wis — Facing a third and 10 from the 50-yard line with 50 seconds remaining and his team trailing the Green Bay Packers by two points, Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield threw an interception to cornerback Rasual Douglas.
Three plays later, the Packers had sealed a 24-22 Christmas Day win.
Upon further review, however, Mayfield's fourth-quarter interception -- which marked his fourth of the game -- wasn't necessarily the fourth-year signal-caller's fault. Rather, it appeared that Douglas had held Mayfield's intended target, Cleveland wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones, on what should have been an obvious penalty, which ultimately wasn't called.
"I understand the officials aren't going to get every call, but in big moments like that, that's tough," Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said after the game.
While a pass interference or holding call wouldn't have guaranteed a victory for Cleveland, the no-call and ensuing interception ultimately sealed the Browns' second straight loss and third in the past four games. As a result, Cleveland fell to 7-8 on the season with two games remaining against a pair of AFC North opponents in the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals.
Yet despite currently sitting in last place of the division, the Browns still have a realistic path to winning the AFC North -- although it would require, at a minimum, winning their final two games of the season. Call or no call, Cleveland isn't going to win many games with its quarterback throwing four interceptions, an assessment Mayfield, himself, agreed with after the game.