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NFL explains reversal on Carlos Hyde first-down call

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Good luck finding a wilder football affair from Sunday than Oakland's 45-42 overtime win over a from-the-wilderness Browns squad battling two decades worth of ghosts.

The tilt was stuffed with so many highs and lows that GamePass editors did their best to stuff the jam-packed rumble into a 58-minute narrative in "condensed" mode, which typically runs closer to 33 minutes tops.

Oakland earned their win with a Jon Gruden-led offense that piled up yards and points down the stretch, but Cleveland fans can't help but ponder one zebra-led turning point drenched in controversy.

Leading 42-34 with 1:36 left in regulation, Browns back Carlos Hyde took a third-and-2 carry, from his own 17-yard line, for what appeared to be two yards as he dove toward the sticks.

The chain gang hit the field to confirm the first down, but replay officials nestled in New York's climate-controlled confines deemed the Hyde run short of the mark.

The reversal pleased Oakland fans and peeved Cleveland's faithful, but the league came forth Monday to back up their findings, explaining:

"From the line feed, you can see the line to gain is just past the 19-yard line," an NFL spokesman said. "One replay angle shows [Hyde's] wrist, and the elbow hit the ground simultaneously. Then when you go back to the line feed, you see the wrist hit the ground and you know the elbow is down. At that point, you are able to clearly see that the ball is short of the line to gain."

It's fair to point out that first-down spots are rarely overturned, but the league office sits in these seats for just this reason: to apparently see what others do not.

Browns players were nonplussed, but coach Hue Jackson acknowledged the locker room was willing to listen to a counterpoint over why the contest drifted into overtime.

"Oh, absolutely. They're frustrated by it. But again, as I told our players, and I think they've said it, not one call or two calls was the difference in the game. We had our chance," Jackson said. "What we understand is, let's take it out of the officials' hands. Let's play well enough and put ourselves in the best situation so it's not even questionable about a call.

"Let's do our part better, let's not turn the ball over, let's get more turnovers, let's make third-and-1, let's make sure we're better on third down on offense, and then let's see what happens then. I think we'll be better. We'll be happy about that."

When two teams combine to score 87 points, the tape is bound to drive the loser nuts. But if you're the Browns, the biggest issue today is how to correct all issues before Sunday's battle with a Ravens team that looks robust and fully dangerous on offense. Oakland sits in the rear-view now.

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