Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 11/14/11
BEREA -- Browns coach Pat Shurmur tried to bring clarity to a confusing end-of-the-game situation regarding the Browns 13-12 loss to St. Louis on Sunday. In no particular order, Shurmur explained why backup tight end Alex Smith was given the ball on the Browns last drive on a handoff and why he (Shurmur) chose to run the ball only once the Browns got to the 19 on the last drive. As for the field goal, there was still confusion. Long snapper Ryan Pontbriand said movement by the Rams defensive linemen closest to him prompted the left side of the Browns line to move, which put Alex Macks foot in front of Pontbriands snap. He said the Browns linemen moved a millisecond before the set call to snap the ball, which may be why officials did not throw a flag on the Browns for a false start -- it all happened too fast and too close together. Pontbriand said he was keeping the snap low due to the wind, but had it not hit Macks foot it would have arrived in the hands of Brad Maynard about six inches off the ground, high enough for Maynard to get the ball down. Like placekicker Phil Dawson on Sunday, Pontbriand intimated a penalty should have been called. But coach Shurmur did not see it that way. The view I saw today, I didnt see a penalty, Shurmur said. Shurmur merely said: The snap needed to be better. He said it was low, which was why it hit Macks foot. Shurmur also said his viewing of film showed Dawsons kick was not blocked, but Rams coach Steve Spagnulo told reporters that defensive lineman James Hall blocked it, according to a tweet from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Which clears everything up about that play. Shurmur also explained the handoff to Smith, saying he called a fullback handoff not knowing starter Owen Marecic was hurt. After the play was called, coaches on the sideline told Shurmur that Smith was the fullback, but Shurmur said he was too far from an official to call timeout and the coach-quarterback communicator had been turned off so he could not tell quarterback Colt McCoy to stop the play. Had I known then what I know now I would have tried to call a timeout, Shurmur said. Told McCoy said he could not audible, Shurmur said: I wouldnt say thats correct. Teams sometimes have check with me plays ready, but in that situation the Browns might not have because Shurmur was determined to run the clock by running the ball. McCoy said he was breaking the huddle with 12 seconds left on the play-clock. Without a check with me, that means McCoy might not have had time for an audible. It was one of those situations, Shurmur said. He said McCoy knew Smith was getting the ball, and Smith knew he was getting the handoff. (In the end) I knew who was in the game, and I chose not to stop the play, partly because I couldnt get to an official and I couldnt get to Colt to communicate, Shurmur said. Bottom line: This was not a designed play drawn up before the game to surprise the Rams, but a play that resulted from several snafus. As Shurmur said, it happens during a game that a backup has to run a play he might not have practiced often. As for his decision to run the ball at the end of the game and try the field goal, Shurmur did not back down. Ill go to the well with what I did, he said. And Ill go to the well lining up kicking a field goal, making them use timeouts nearing two minutes and making them drive to beat us. He pointed out running the ball used time, forced the Rams to use a timeout and set up a field goal that most felt was a gimme. You can run the ball in the end zone as well, Shurmur said. Just because you run doesnt mean youre giving up. Shurmur was much less emotional and frustrated than he was on Sunday, but he was no less disappointed. I believe in my heart of hearts we can get it done, Shurmur said. Theres no question. That has nothing to do with my feelings. I was angry yesterday because we had a game that we had a chance to win. Im living in that moment. Thats the feeling that I was carrying with me. He also spoke to angry and disappointed fans. Im just like every other person in the city of Cleveland that woke up this morning disappointed that we lost, Shurmur said. I feel the same frustration. Im disappointed. But Im not discouraged. I feel it. Ive lived it. Im from this region. I feel what everybody feels when we dont win.
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