The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-7 at home on Thursday Night Football (November 14), but that’s not what anyone wanted to talk about after the game.
The game featured a melee in the closing seconds that saw Browns defensive end Myles Garrett attack Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph with Rudolph’s helmet.
That led to the ejections of Garrett, the Steelers’ Maurkice Pouncey, and Garrett’s teammate Larry Ogunjobi.
There was also a helmet-to-helmet hit by the Browns' Damarious Randall on Steelers wide receiver Dionate Johnson, leading to Randall’s ejection earlier in the game.
Plus, Odell Beckham Jr. trolled Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin with a yawn, after a big catch in the first quarter.
Tomlin was asked during the summer about facing OBJ twice per season now that Beckham is a member of the Browns. The Steelers' coach gave ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler a standard answer with a yawn.
Obviously OBJ took it personally and has been holding on to it for months.
This was an ugly night for the NFL and the teams involved.
Following the game, Garrett said he “lost his cool,” but declined to go into specifics about what prompted the situation to escalate.
"What I did was foolish, and I shouldn't allow myself to slip like that," Garrett said. "That's out of character, but a situation like that, where it's an emotional game, and I allowed myself to fall into those emotions with what happened."
Rudolph said Garrett’s actions were “bush league.”
"I thought it was pretty cowardly," Rudolph added.
Nobody but the men on the field know what was said and what caused the situation to get out of hand, but this is serious.
Expect the NFL to come down hard on Garrett with a lengthy suspension. He could’ve done serious harm to Rudolph swinging the helmet the way he did.
Current and former players commented on what transpired Thursday night.
Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield shared his disappointment with Garrett’s actions, saying:
"It's inexcusable," he said. "Rivalry or not, we can't do that. That's kind of the history of what's been going on here lately, hurting yourself. That's endangering the other team. That's inexcusable, he knows that - I hope he does now."
Tomlin declined to talk about the incident after the game. "I'll keep my thoughts to myself," he said.
Reactions varied throughout the night and into Friday (November 15). They ranged from support to vehement chastisement.
Again, what actually provoked the violence is unknown. But some of the responses stating “this isn’t what the NFL is about” are disingenuous.
Football is an inherently violent game. The league promoted that violence for decades. Why are we so surprised that something like this happened?
Former Texans running back Arian Foster agrees with that position and fired off a series of tweets regarding the incident.
In addition to a certain suspension, Garrett may face legal action.
According to ESPN, Mason Rudolph’s agent Tim Younger is looking into the matter.
“I am gathering all information and no options have been removed from the table," Tim Younger said when reached by text message Friday morning.
This story isn’t over. Stay tuned.
(Photo: Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire, Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images)