Amari Cooper caught nine touchdowns in his first year as a Cleveland Brown in 2022, and he just scored what should have been his first TD grab of the new year. Unfortunately for Cooper the side judge on that side of the field thought he stepped out of bounds, when replay clearly shows Cooper's feet never exited the field of play. He was robbed of a touchdown to put it politely.
Ref staring right at the play said Amari Cooper was out of bounds
Great job Roger
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) September 24, 2023
Cleveland should have taken a 17-3 lead into the half. Instead they had to settle for a 13-3 advantage and ten-point margin thanks to the questionable eyesight of a league official. Deshaun Watson could've used the highlight after near-disaster earlier, but it just wasn't meant to be on this play. Watson dropped back and found Cooper deep. Cooper then evaded Tennessee DB Kristian Fulton and juked out safety Amani Hooker before seeing nothing but green in front of him.
Cooper ran unimpeded towards the end zone before the Tennessee defense was saved by the whistle. It was obvious on replay that Cooper's feet remained in bounds but that didn't matter. Even worse for Cooper and the Brown's was the fact that plays like these are not reviewable. Once an official blows the play dead anything after the fact is irrelevant, even if it is an awesome 65 yard catch and run for a touchdown.
The Browns suffered a definite loss of momentum after the deflating sequence and their offense could not regain it before the half. The three plays following the would-be touchdown went for only six yards and forced Cleveland into taking a field goal before the half.
Brown's kicker Dustin Hopkins saved some face for his squad by knocking through a 52 yard field goal and giving the Browns that 13-3 halftime lead. Browns fans can take some solace in the fact that they have a good lead even without that touchdown, but it still is never fun to see professional referees make glaring mistakes like that on a Sunday.
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