Bad luck, a bad rule, a bad call and a bad first half for the Browns

The Browns were dealt a terrible blow as the worst rule in football reared its ugly head late in the first half today in Kansas City.

Just as it appeared that Cleveland might make a game of it before halftime, Rashard Higgins caught a pass for Baker Mayfield, raced toward the pylon, and fumbled just before getting into the end zone. The ball went into the end zone and then rolled out of bounds for a touchback. Chiefs ball at the 20-yard line.

It’s commonly referred to was the worst rule in football: Why should the other team get the ball back when it goes out of bounds in the end zone? It would make more sense to give the ball back to the offense at the spot of the foul.

Compounding the bad play for the Browns was that replays showed Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen initiated contact with the top of his helmet and should have been flagged for a penalty when he hit Higgins. But the officials missed it, and that penalty is not reviewable.

If Higgins hadn’t fumbled, if the rule would give the Browns the ball back at the 1-yard line, or if the officials had seen Sorensen’s hit, the Browns would probably have closed the gap to 16-10 before halftime. Instead, the Chiefs kicked a field goal after the fumble, lead 19-3, and appear poised to win this one going away.