What a devastating sequence of occasions for the Browns, who misplaced a landing — and gave possession again to Kansas Metropolis — after receiver Rashard Higgins fumbled the ball out of the again of the tip zone.
Higgins, who had caught a 23-yard move on the earlier play, once more acquired open, and Mayfield discovered him. However as Higgins neared the purpose line, reaching out with the ball towards the precise pylon, in swooped Chiefs security Daniel Sorenson, whose hit dislodged the ball. The principles state that if a staff fumbles the ball and it goes out of the opponent’s finish zone, the play ends in a touchback.
Video replay confirmed the decision on the sphere, and as a substitute of a Cleveland landing drawing the rating to 16-9, pending the additional level, the Chiefs assumed possession on their very own 20-yard line. Making it worse for Cleveland was that the previous N.F.L. official Gene Steratore, talking on the CBS broadcast, stated Sorensen ought to have been penalized for unlawful use of his helmet. However that decision will not be reviewable, Steratore stated.
That was of little solace to Browns followers, who’ve a protracted historical past with unlucky postseason performs. According to ESPN Stats and Information, Higgins’s fumble was Cleveland’s first misplaced fumble within the playoffs contained in the 10-yard line since Earnest Byner’s notorious fumble on the 1-yard line in opposition to Denver within the 1987 A.F.C. championship recreation.