INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Colts received the response they were seeking from the NFL, not that it changes anything.
Owner Jim Irsay revealed on social media Tuesday evening the NFL admitted that Shawn Smith’s officiating crew “did not make the correct calls’’ at the end of the Colts’ 39-38 loss to the Cleveland Browns Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
He went on to insist changes needed to made.
“I believe we need to institute Instant Replay for all calls, including penalties, in the last two minutes of all games.’’
Teams routinely send video clips to the NFL following each game with plays they consider questionable.
Monday, Shane Steichen indicated the Colts would do so with at least two pivotal plays in the final minute of Sunday’s game involving cornerback Darrell Baker Jr.: an illegal contact flag that gave the Browns a first-and-goal at the 8 and interference in the end zone on the following play that produced a first-and-goal at the 1 with 33 seconds remaining.
The Browns scored the winning touchdown four plays later. The illegal contact penalty erased a sack and forced fumble caused by linebacker E.J. Speed that tackle DeForest Buckner recovered with 38 seconds remaining.
That sequence would have secured a 38-33 win for the Colts.
The NFL’s admission changes nothing.
“I mean, they were tough calls,’’ Steichen said Monday. “I’m not going to get into a lot of the officials on that situation. As a team, we’ve got to do better to not put ourselves in those situations at the end of games, not leave it up to those things at the end.
“Tough calls, they made them and that’s what it was.’’
It will be interesting to see how – or if – the NFL responds to Irsay sharing its admission of a mistake by the officials. Team officials are prohibited from commenting publicly on discussions it has with the league.
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.