The ball dropped through both players' hands and onto Barnidge’s left ankle as he hit the ground. As he lay on his back, Barnidge somehow had the presence of mind to squeeze the ball between his legs, reach down and grab it.
As he did, he fell into the end zone.
"It was a little bit of luck and a little bit of awareness because I felt the ball," Barnidge said. "But a lot of it was luck too."
Barnidge said he knew where the ball was. His effort was to finish the play.
"I knew it was in my legs. I had it trapped," Barnidge said. "I knew I felt it in there, and I was just trying to get it up to my hands. I knew if I got it to my hands, it'd be a catch."
It led to plenty of chatter -- and laughter -- after the play.
"Gary came back and said, 'I caught it.' I said, 'You did?' He said, 'Yeah, not with my hands, but I caught it,'" McCown said.
"I told him on the sideline that if that's not the No. 1 play of the week, then there's something wrong," coach Mike Pettine said.
Although the play was tough to follow, the catch was ruled properly on the field. It will go down as one of the more memorable catches in recent Browns history.
One week earlier, Barnidge came up with another circus catch near the goal line, and that set up a game-tying touchdown. On that pass, Barnidge tipped the ball to himself and somehow got his elbow down at the 1.
"Josh has confidence in me, so I appreciate that," Barnidge said. "I got to go out and make him right for doing it."
"Those are fun plays," McCown said. "In the scope of this game, they're neat in the moment. After this game, years from now those are special to remember and reflect on."