The final aspect of Sunday’s game that appeared to have been mismanaged was Cleveland’s attempted comeback in the final minutes. Trailing by 15 points, Jackson decided to attempt a two-point conversion to cut the deficit to seven points. Actually, this move can be justified, as it reveals to the team whether they will need one or two more scores so they can plan accordingly.
What happened after the failed conversion attempt, however, raises questions.
Still trailing by nine points with a minute and twenty seconds remaining, the Browns were driving and sat at the Tennessee 35-yard line. With two timeouts remaining, the team elected to continue driving. As it turned out, they scored, but did not recover the onside kick with about 20 seconds remaining, thus the final score was 28-26.
What they should have done is sent Cody Parkey out to attempt a long field goal, so that they could kick off to the Titans and not need to worry about recovering the onside kick. Since the Browns were having success against Tennessee’s rushing offense all afternoon, which is what they would have undoubtedly tried in the situation, the chances would be high that Cleveland could force a three-and-out.
Then, after using the two timeouts and having approximately 30 seconds remaining, it would be a matter of driving down the field in that time once they got the ball back.
While this still would have been a long shot, it makes a lot more sense. NFL teams recover onside kicks under 20 percent of the time, and after the Browns had already recovered one earlier, the Titans would be ready. This is why it would have been more logical to kick a field goal so that Cleveland would not have had to have recovered the onside kick.
For this reason, even this can be questioned. All in all, Jackson and his staff made some very debatable moves on Sunday, which could have arguably cost the team the game.