Cleveland Browns safety Jabrill Peppers appeared to end a drive for the Cincinnati Bengals when he delivered a huge hit on wide receiver Josh Malone that jarred the ball loose and forced a fourth down. Instead, it drew a personal foul for a hit on a defenseless receiver and extended a drive for Cincinnati.
But the penalty on Peppers was questionable, at best. Malone was taking his third step down the sideline before he was drilled by Peppers in the chest.
Browns coach Hue Jackson wasn’t happy with the call after the game.
Hue Jackson on the call on Jabrill Peppers: “That’s a huge call in the game. You’ve got to get it right … I stand behind [Peppers]."— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) November 26, 2017
But the NFL initially agreed with the penalty, and gave Peppers a $24,000 fine for delivering the shot to a defenseless receiver. The rookie safety appealed the punishment and won nearly a month later.
Instead of punting, the Bengals got a fresh set of downs and finished the drive with an 11-yard touchdown run for Joe Mixon that pushed the lead to 14 and sealed a big win for the Bengals.
It’s hard to feel too sorry for the Browns on the play, though, considering cornerback Jamar Taylor got away with what looked like defensive pass interference.
Cleveland fell to 0-11 and struggled offensively again, so it’s far from a guarantee that DeShone Kizer could’ve led the Browns to another touchdown in the final minutes. Last week, the rookie had the chance to do so against the Jacksonville Jaguars but fumbled twice.
Still, in a frustrating and fruitless season for the Browns, it doesn’t help when they’re not getting the calls either.