Baltimore Ravens’ Albert McClellan (50) forces a fumble of Denver Broncos wide receiver Trindon Holliday (11). (USA Today)
Muff. The word sounds so harmless.
In the grand scheme of all things NFL, however, a muff means potential turnover.
There were three muffed punts in the Denver Broncos’ 34-12 win over the Cleveland Browns Sunday. First it was sure-handed safety Jim Leonhard who muffed one in the second quarter before falling right on top of it. Then it was Trindon Holliday who muffed one to start the fourth quarter. Chris Harris fell on top of that one.
“We had a couple we put on the ground, not just Trindon,” John Fox said following the game. “Like I said, not too many of these (games) are perfect. You strive for perfection, but you seldom get it.”
The third muffed punt came shortly after Holliday’s error. Browns’ return specialist Josh Cribbs muffed one, but unlike the Broncos’ luck, he wasn’t able to recover. Lance Ball fell on top of it on Cleveland’s 19-yard line. The Browns committed an 18-yard pass interference penalty on the next play which put the Broncos on the 1-yard line. Then, fullback Jacob Hester punched it in to really put the game out of reach at 31-6 in the fourth quarter.
While the Broncos’ unsteady hands didn’t lead to any special teams’ turnovers, this is something that needs to be addressed with the playoffs coming. Those kinds of mistakes against New England or Houston won’t cut it.