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Officials handled final FG attempt correctly in Browns' loss to Rams, league source says

By Nate Ulrich Published: November 14, 2011
Cleveland Browns kicker Phil Dawson sits on the bench after missing a 22-yard field goal in the fourth quarter in an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011, in Cleveland. The Rams won 13-12. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

No false start or offside penalty should have been called during the Browns' final field-goal attempt Sunday against the St. Louis Rams, a league source said today.

Officials handled the bizarre play correctly in the Browns' 13-12 loss to the Rams, the source said.

Replays show there was movement by the Rams before Ryan Pontbriand snapped the ball, but that doesn't mean there was encroachment. Pontbriand's snap deflected off left guard Alex Mack's right foot and skipped on the ground to holder Brad Maynard, who managed to spot the ball.

The discombobulated sequence threw off the timing of Phil Dawson, whose 22-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left by what appeared to be about six inches. Browns coach Pat Shurmur said he didn't think a Rams player deflected Dawson's kick, but Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo told St. Louis reporters that defensive end James Hall blocked the kick. Pontbriand said he couldn't tell whether the kick was blocked, but Dawson, who's pictured to the left, thought the ball was deflected by a Rams player.

Shurmur said he didn't think there was a penalty during the play. Pontbriand said he thought movement by the Rams caused Mack to take his step a split second early, and that's why his snap hit Mack's foot. Pontbriand also said he intentionally snapped the ball lower than usual because of the windy conditions at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

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