Although the Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers, 21-7, nobody would remember the result from this Thursday Night Football. It will be marked by an embarrassing scene of players fighting and by Browns’ players’ unsportsmanlike behavior.
With 8 seconds to go, Myles Garrett took down Steelers’ quarterback Mason Rudolph dragging him to the ground. Rudolph then tried to take off Garrett’s helmet, as the two wrestled. The Browns’ defensive end would then pull the rival’s face mask, taking off that helmet, swinging with it, and hitting Rudolph in the head with it.
Following that dangerous move, guests’ center Maurkice Pouncey started hitting Garrett in the head, and once he fell on the ground, Pouncey was kicking him with his leg. In the meantime, Larry Ogunjobi hit Rudolph from behind, while the QB looked towards the officials when he received a hit.
“I thought it was pretty cowardly and bush league,” Rudolph said. “I’m not going to back down from any bully. I felt like I had a bone to pick with him.”
And in general, the entire match tonight was controversial when it comes to Cleveland Browns’ hits on the opponents. Many of them were dirty and illegal, and as a consequence, two of the Steelers’ wide receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson, had to go out for a concussion protocol. In the meantime, the guests also lost James Conner, who had to go out due to his shoulder injury, making this trip one of the worst they had in recent years.
“I’ll keep my thoughts to myself. You guys saw what happened at the end,” said Mike Tomlins, following the contest, refusing to speak about the incidents.
Morgan Burnett and Greedy Williams sandwiched Smith-Schuster, who received an obvious helmet-to-helmet hit from the blind side. In the third period, Browns’ safety Damarious Randall hit Johnson pretty nasty, although he had the time to avoid that. Johnson was completely unaware of the situation and didn’t see the rival coming at all. He would lay down on the ground for some time, with the blood coming out from his ear.
Randall was ejected from the game.
The Steelers received a lot of beating in this one, and it will be very interesting to see what happens in two weeks’ time when Browns come to visit Heinz Field.
As for the game, the hosts were much better, and they started to pound pretty early. Truth to be told, they had a lot of help from the opposing side, as the Steelers couldn’t do anything worth mentioning in the attack. Rudolph was without composure and inspiration. The rookie quarterback threw four interceptions, along with just one touchdown pass.
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh’s running game wasn’t present at all without Conner, leaving them one-dimensional, and making Rudolph an easy prey. The guy with the most rushing yards was Jayleen Samuels, posting 26 on five carries.
On the other side, the Browns had Nick Chubb, who surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing yards mark, with 92 won tonight. Odell Beckham Jr caught four passes for 60 yards, Kareem Hunt had 46 on six receptions, and Landry 43 on three. Joe Schobert had two interceptions, Burnett and Juston Burris, one each.
For the Steelers, James Washington had 49 receiving yards in three catches, Vance McDonald 33 on three. Rudolph ended the night with 221 yards, 23 for 44, and four sacks for 43 negative yards.
Mayfield was 17 for 32, for 193 yards and two TDs.
“It’s inexcusable, I don’t care if it’s a rivalry or not,” Mayfield told about the incidents.
Myles Garrett is definitely ahead of a long suspension; many believe that it is going to be until the end of the season. He already got away a few times this season with his dirty plays, but this time he probably won’t.
Cleveland (4-6) will miss him in the battle for the playoffs a lot, as he really is one of the best defenders in the league. The Browns are hosting the Miami Dolphins, and after that, head for Pittsburgh.
The Steelers (5-5) are still in the wild card hunt but in a much tougher situation. They would need to win both of their next events, against the Bengals on the road, and the Browns at home to keep the hope alive.