Shayne Graham's game-winning 31-yard field goal last Sunday may not have been a true game-winner at all.
Browns defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said Friday in his weekly meeting with the media that the kick, which came with four seconds in overtime and allowed the Cincinnati Bengals to escape Cleveland Browns Stadium with a hard-fought, come-from-behind 23-20 decision, was not good.
Ryan, saying he really didn't want to delve into the issue for fear it would be portrayed as a criticism of the officials who worked the game, thus exposing him to a possible league fine, simply urged media members in attendance to look at a replay of the kick.
So that's what they did, and in doing so from a camera situated behind the end zone at the Dawg Pound end of the field, where the kick was made, it certainly appears as if the kick goes just barely wide right. The clinching evidence seems to be when the ball disappears behind the right upright.
As is the officials' procedure, two officials, one under each upright, watched the kick and signaled that it was good.
If it had been called no good, then the game almost certainly would have ended 20-20 and been the Browns' first tie since a 20-20 standoff with the Kansas City Chiefs two decades ago, on Nov. 19, 1989, also at Cleveland. The Browns would have had just those four seconds left to run one last play from the Cleveland 13, 87 yards away from a score.
Neither Browns head coach Eric Mangini, nor any of his players, made any mention of the iffy call during the week.
The 0-3-1 – er, 0-4 -- Browns can only hope they get better calls – and maybe a win – on Sunday when they meet the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
On another matter, Ryan hinted that Bills quarterback Trent Edwards had said some uncomplimentary things about the Oakland defense after a last-play 24-23 win over the Raiders last Sept. 21 at Buffalo. Ryan was the Raiders defensive coordinator at the time. Rian Lindell kicked a 38-yard field as time expired to provide the victory.
Edwards was 24-of-39 passing for 279 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He took the Bills 46 yards in seven plays covering 2:29 to set up Lindell's kick.
Ryan seemed as if he were still irritated by the remarks. Look for the Browns to blitz the house at Edwards as much as possible.
In yet another note, while Browns quarterback Derek Anderson might not exactly be the people's choice in Cleveland, there's no doubt he plays better at home than he does on the road. And that obviously does not bode well for Sunday.
In 16 home games since he first played for the Browns in 2006, Anderson is 260-of-452 passing (a 57.5 completion percentage) for 3,181 yards, 18 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.
Compare that to what he has done on the road: In 15 contests, he is 294-of-509 passing (57.8) for 3,136 yards, 22 TDs and 23 picks.
All the stats at home and on the road are pretty much the same except for the two most important ones – TDs and interceptions. On the road, he has four more TDs but nine more picks.
Like most coaches, Mangini detests turnovers, especially interceptions. Plus he doesn't miss a thing. Somewhere in his office, these statistics are highlighted so significantly that he will have them committed to memory by Sunday.
As such, will Mangini have a quick hook if things don't go well against the Bills, particularly early? We'll see.