Rashard Higgins’ goal-line fumble should have been targeting penalty
The Cleveland Browns had a crushing fumble at the goal line during the first half of their game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, but they should have maintained possession of the ball.
Trailing the Kansas City Chiefs 16-3 with less than two minutes remaining in the first half, Cleveland put together a strong drive that looked like it was going to end with a touchdown. Instead, Browns wide receiver Rashard Higgins fumbled while trying to dive for the goal line. The ball went out the side of the end zone, resulting in a turnover and a touchback for the Chiefs.
— Justin Groc (@jgroc) January 17, 2021
The fumble probably should not have stood, however. Replays appeared to show that Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen committed a personal foul by lowering his helmet to initiate contact with Higgins. CBS rules analyst Gene Steratore said the officials should have called a penalty.
When the league makes a stink about leading with the helmet, and then this play causes a fumble costing the @Browns a TD.
— vonwulfenstein (@vonwulfenstein) January 17, 2021
The only way that play could have been worse for the Browns is if it happened on their final possession. Had they scored, they would have gone into halftime trailing 16-10 and gotten the ball in the second half. Instead, the Chiefs were able to add a field goal before the half to take a 19-3 lead.
We know one player who knows how it feels to cough up the ball at the goal line with so much at stake.