INDIANAPOLIS – The NFL’s admission officials didn’t make the correct calls at the end of the Colts’ 39-38 loss to the Cleveland Browns Sunday was met with the expected reaction.
“I mean, they don’t take the ‘L’ away,’’ linebacker Zaire Franklin said Wednesday. “They don’t give Speed the strip-sack.
“That don’t really matter.’’
Darrell Baker Jr. was in the eye of the storm and offered a similar response.
“Yeah, I (saw) it,’’ he said. “It’s a lot of emotion regarding that statement and those decisions. But the most important thing right now is to focus on the Saints for this week.
“That happened Sunday. Today is Wednesday. Really can’t do anything about the past.’’
Baker was involved in two pivotal coverage penalties in the final 38 seconds that aided the Browns’ game-winning drive. An illegal contact penalty gave Cleveland a first-and-goal at the 8, and an interference penalty in the end zone on the next play resulted in a first-and-goal at the 1. The Browns scored on fourth-and-goal with 15 seconds remaining.
Owner Jim Irsay revealed on social media Tuesday night the NFL informed the Colts Shawn Smith’s officiating crew “did not make the correct calls’’ at the end of the game. He did not specify which calls were involved, but it’s believed the illegal contact infraction was one of them.
Had the officials not flagged Baker, the Colts would have won 38-33. On the play, linebacker E.J. Speed sacked P.J. Walker and forced a fumble that DeForest Buckner recovered with 38 seconds remaining. A close look at the video showed Speed forcing the fumble a split-second before Baker made contact with Amari Cooper.
Had the Colts emerged with a victory, they’d take a 4-3 record into Sunday’s meeting with the New Orleans Saints in Lucas Oil Stadium. They would be tied with Buffalo for the seventh and final playoff spot.
At 3-4, they’re No. 11 in a postseason picture with 10 games remaining.
Dwelling on the controversial loss to the Browns proves nothing.
“We’ve got to move on,’’ coach Shane Steichen said. “We’ve got to move on to New Orleans.’’
Added quarterback Gardner Minshew II: “I think we could have won that game and that’s on us. There’s a million plays out there that could have been made and we didn’t make them.
“It’s always convenient to look for excuses, but I think we’ve got to look at ourselves and figure out what we can do to fix it.’’
Rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson underwent surgery on his right shoulder Tuesday in Los Angeles, and is “in good spirits,’’ according to Steichen.
“I had a chance to talk to him last night,’’ he said. “ . . . doing well, looking forward to getting him back in the building, getting him rehab and getting him ready to go this offseason and next season.’’
After spending a short time in L.A., Richardson is scheduled to return to Indy to begin his rehab process.
“He’ll come back here, yeah,’’ Steichen said. “The biggest thing is obviously getting the rehab, getting his shoulder right and then just staying focused throughout the season, in these meetings, still being dialed in at practice, all those different things.
“I think he can learn during this time to become a better player for next year.’’
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.