Travis Benjamin plays it safe and late-game field position shifts because of it

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Travis Benjamin made one big catch Sunday afternoon.

But it was his decision not to try making another on special teams that also proved noteworthy in the Browns' 23-21 loss.

In the game's final minutes, Benjamin opted not to field a punt from the Ravens' Sam Koch around the 20-yard line at windswept FirstEnergy Stadium. Instead, the ball bounced and rolled all the way to the Browns' 7, pinning the home team deep in its end.

The Browns, clinging to a 21-20 lead, ran three plays before punting. The Ravens scored the game-winning field goal on the final possession after taking over at the 50 -- field position aided by Koch's 57-yard punt and Benjamin's decision not to catch it.

The Browns third-year pro, who caught a 43-yard, first-quarter pass setting up a touchdown, explained his decision to let the punt bounce.

"I wasn't afraid at all (to catch it)," he said. "I got up under the ball correctly and at the last minute, a gust of wind blew it and it went past my hand. I didn't want to go back and reach for the ball, so I just let it pass by."

Winds were gusting at 23 mph at kickoff, according to the official score sheet.

Benjamin also muffed a punt in the first quarter but recovered the ball. The Browns had no return yards on three punts Sunday.

Returning from a torn anterior cruciate ligament, The Rabbit has had a slow start in the special teams department. One of the league's most dangerous punt returners in 2013, Benjamin has run back just three for a total of 2 yards. He's also called for five fair catches.

He began the season as the primary kickoff returner but is now splitting time with Marlon Moore. Moore had the only kickoff return Sunday for 31 yards.  

Bookmark and Share
blog comments powered by Disqus