The Browns punted the ball back to Chad Henne and the Chiefs with roughly four minutes remaining, and they never got it back again.
And that’s why many analysts and fans are wondering if that was the correct decision to do so.
Sure, it was fourth-and-9, from their own 32-yard-line. But with Henne at quarterback, even if the Chiefs would’ve kicked a field goal, the Browns would’ve only trailed by one score (eight points). Not only that, Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker had already missed an extra point and a field goal in the game, so it’s not like he was automatic, either.
But the Browns elected to punt the ball away, and they never saw it again, with the Chiefs kneeling in Victory Formation to seal the win. Stefanski explained his controversial decision in speaking to reporters after the 22-17 loss.
“Nah, it was just probably just too long there, Tony, that distance,” Stefanski told Browns reporter Tony Grossi postgame, via Sporting News. “If it was tighter, without a doubt.”
The analytics community was against punting in that situation, and they were probably right.