Originally written on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 11/21/11

Rick: Without turning this into a Shurmur discussion, I am interested to know everyone’s opinion on the Browns accepting the penalty on the made field goal today. The adage “you never take points off the board” is a fairly old and conservative one. It is exactly what went through my mind when I saw the flag fly on that play. For the sake of discussion, let’s use today’s game situation as our base.

The field goal is good, making the score Browns 10, Jaguars 7. There is 8:02 left in the third quarter. Accepting the penalty gives the Browns a first down at the 11 yard line.

Here is why I am more inclined to take the points. First off, it gives you the lead guaranteed. Points were hard to come by in the first half, The Browns have also struggled to get a lead in games lately. Factor in the Browns’ deficiencies in the red zone, and I think I would have stuck to the adage and kept those points on the board.

Jacob: With this team, with this offense and with these running backs – no offense to Ogbonayya after his 15 minutes of fame – you have to take the points. It’s as simple as that really. We knew from the start this was going to be a race to see whoever got about 14 points first just to win. A close call, and one that’s dependent upon this current offense, but yeah I’d take the points too. Give me MJD and I’d take the penalty.

Scott: Taking the points would have shown an insane lack of trust in a young, developing offense. I think whether or not Shurmur had faith in them is one thing; to not even give them the chance to fail on their own is another.

Sure, in this case, worst-case scenario happened. Nine other times out of ten, they either score a touchdown or settle for a field goal with one of the most accurate kickers olin the history of the game.

A minute left in the half? Maybe take the points. Any other scenario, I think Shurmur didn’t just make the right call, it was the only call.

DP: I think when your team’s 3-6 and there’s nothing at stake, you take the points off the board and try to punch it in. At the 11 yard line, the chances are better than average that you’re going to get at least another crack at a (one would hope) pretty makable field goal. I don’t put the INT on Shurmur. I put it on Colt for making a horrible read/throw. I never hesitated in wanting them to take the first down and keep driving. It was only after the INT that people in the bar I was at starting complaining about the decision. Hindsight has a way of making everyone experts.

Andrew: In my opinion, the ineptitude of the Browns offense is precisely why taking the points off the board was exactly the right thing to do. Having the ball at the 11 yard line is a luxury to this team and any time they have a chance to have a first down from the 11, I’m all for it. Sure, a turnover or missed FG is always a possibility, but when taking risk vs reward for a 3-6 team going nowhere with nothing to lose, I think the risk was worth it. I personally would have been shocked and outraged had the Browns declined the penalty and would have seen it as Coach Shurmur giving up on this team, and that’s unacceptable no matter how bleak things can get.

Craig: It didn’t even occur to me that it should not be an option to not take the first down. Unless they were going to be up against it with the clock as Scott said, I don’t think there really was any other option. Even if you don’t have the offense to do it, it is the right way to play. In order to develop a team, you have to be willing to put them in the right situations even if they fall flat on their faces.

When people mention the record, they usually want the team to do something outlandish like go for it on 3rd and 14. “What do they have to lose?” That is silly. Equally silly though, would be not going for a touchdown when gifted the opportunity because you don’t believe in your offense and “You’re 3-6. Take the points!”

Kirk: The only thought I gave the decision was “this will probably backfire”. I think it was the right call though. The onus is on Colt not to make such an ill advised throw. Scoring was at a premium but a three point lead in the third quarter wasn’t going to be something insurmountable. This offense above all needs confidence and keeping the three there would’ve squashed it. Worst case, Phil should’ve been re-kicking three plays later.

Rick: I think a little too much is being made about showing confidence in Colt, or the offense in general. The Browns didn’t run the ball three straight times up the middle to set up field goal attempt. They drove the ball down the field, (albeit aided by a big pass interference) and then stalled. They were even attempting to throw for a first down or touchdown when Colt got sacked on third down.

Colt has been around football his whole life, with his dad coaching. If you turn to him on the sidelines and say “I’m not taking points off the board”, I bet that’s a concept he’s heard of before. The offense moved the ball and got a lead. I don’t think they’d be scarred.

Scott: In a vacuum, yes, too much is being made about the confidence issue, but you have to almost take a step back and realize that this season is about development more than it is winning. If it was about winning, the team wouldn’t have been rid of all 30-plus players.

You have to see what you have. Sure, one play wont exactly move the morale needle, but the macro decision to give him three more tries speaks volumes.

-

So how about you WFNY readers? Would you have taken the points off the board?

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