CLEVELAND — On the play of the Steelers’ opening drive against the Cleveland Browns, star edge rusher Myles Garrett darted through for an easy sack. But the referees said Kenny Pickett had his forward progress stopped just about a half-yard short of the goal line. Thus, it was not a safety on the field. The Browns did not choose to challenge it.
— Roberto Shenanigans (@Rob_Shenanigans) November 19, 2023
However, on the CBS Sports broadcast, former NFL referee Gene Steratore said that the call would have been overturned if Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski had challenged the call, indicating that Pickett was in the process of being tackled behind the plane of the goal line.
“By rule, if Cleveland challenges that play, it’s a safety,” Steratore said on the broadcast.
Pittsburgh allowed a touchdown the next series and now trails 7-0. Even though they did not get the safety, it gave the Browns offense excellent field position, and they used it to drive down the field and score a touchdown with the help of Dorian Thompson-Robinson, helping the team drive down the field.
On the play that the sack occurred, Garrett was one on one with Dan Moore Jr. and beat him to the inside with a nasty move. Najee Harris was over on that side but took the outside guy on the slot blitz while Garrett crashed on the inside. Pittsburgh would end up punting after just three plays, which the Browns have done exceedingly well through their first nine games of the season. They lead the NFL in three-and-outs forced, with the highest rate caused in over a decade.
The Steelers will look to try and claw back into the game. But the sack by Garrett is one that will be hotly contested by the Browns when they look back at the play and how it went down.