11/14 23:50 CST Browns, Steelers brawl at end of Cleveland's 21-7 win
Browns, Steelers brawl at end of Cleveland's 21-7 win
By TOM WITHERS
AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) --- The Cleveland Browns kept fighting long after the outcome
had been decided, and it likely will cost them their best defensive player.
And maybe their season.
Browns defensive end Myles Garrett ripped off Pittsburgh quarterback Mason
Rudolph's helmet and hit him with it in the head in the final seconds as the
Browns' 21-7 win over the Steelers on Thursday night ended with a wild brawl
between the rivals.
Garrett faces a likely suspension for his actions, and Steelers center Maurkice
Pouncey will likely be disciplined for kicking Garrett in the head.
"I lost my cool and I regret it," Garrett said. "It's going to come back to
hurt our team. The guys who jumped into the scrum, I appreciate my team having
my back, but it never should have gotten to that point. It's on me."
Players from both sidelines spilled on the field during the melee, which began
after Garrett wrestled Rudolph to the ground well after he completed a short
pass on a meaningless play. Garrett, Pouncey and Browns defensive tackle Larry
Ogunjobi were ejected.
Rudolph got his hand on Garrett's helmet first as the players grappled on the
ground, but Garrett escalated the brawl after he got back on his feet. He
yanked the helmet off Rudolph and swung wildly, hitting the quarterback on the
top of the head.
Rudolph threw his arms in the air in disbelief after the impact, and Pouncey
retaliated by punching and kicking Garrett.
"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. I
appreciate the line always having my back, but I was angry."
Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield called Garrett's actions "inexcusable" and
Fox commentator Troy Aikman said they were "barbaric."
Mayfield said the incident overshadowed a win that the Browns should be
"It feels like we lost," he said.
Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was shown replays of the brawl on the NFL
"It's ugly," Beckham said. "It's not something we want in the NFL."
Rudolph, a second-year player who took over for the injured Ben Roethlisberger
in Week 2, has already missed time this season with a concussion after he was
knocked unconscious from a helmet-to-helmet hit by Baltimore Ravens safety Earl
"Myles is very upset about it. He's got to maintain his composure," Browns
coach Freddie Kitchens said.
Before the ugly ending, Mayfield threw two touchdown passes and scored on a
1-yard plunge as Cleveland held on to defeat the banged-up Steelers for just
the fourth time in 10 years and improved to 2-0 in the AFC North for the first
The Browns (4-6) have won two in a row after dropping four straight, a skid
that put first-year coach Freddie Kitchens' job in jeopardy.
But Mayfield's 8-yard TD pass to undrafted rookie tight end Stephen Carlson
with 5:25 left helped clinch a rare win over the rival Steelers. And softer
upcoming schedule has eased the pressure on Kitchens and given the Browns some
hope they can end the NFL's longest playoff drought.
The loss was especially damaging to the Steelers (5-5).
Pittsburgh lost its top two playmakers as running back James Conner (shoulder)
and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (concussion) suffered injuries in the
second quarter and didn't return.
Without them, Rudolph didn't have enough help and threw four interceptions.
In the third quarter, Steelers rookie wide receiver Diontae Johnson got
concussed from a vicious hit by Browns safety Damarious Randall, who was
Browns running back Nick Chubb had 92 yards and went over 1,000 this season.
Despite the injuries, the Steelers were within 14-7 entering the fourth quarter
after Rudolph connected with Jaylen Samuels for a 3-yard touchdown pass.
The score was set up by Cleveland's secondary, which was called for three
penalties --- one of them Randall's ugly hit --- totaling 58 yards on the
But the Browns were able to put it away late after linebacker Joe Schobert
intercepted Rudolph for the second time and returned it to Pittsburgh's 9. On
third down, Mayfield bought time and connected with Carlson in the back of the
end zone --- his first NFL reception.
The Browns have been wrapped up in drama all season, and that was the case
again Thursday as the team released wide receiver Antonio Callaway just hours
Callaway, who served a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's
substance-abuse policy earlier this season, was benched by Kitchens for
arriving late to Sunday's game against Buffalo.
The Browns are one of 11 teams committed to attending former quarterback Colin
Kaepernick's workout in Atlanta this weekend.
Owner Dee Haslam said didn't know who from the team would be at the workout to
evaluate Kaepernick, who hasn't played since 2016 and became a polarizing
figure when he kneeled during the national anthem to protest social and racial
"We are in support of anybody getting an opportunity to play football," Haslam
said. "We love that."
Steelers: Along with the others, Pittsburgh lost LB Olasunkanmi Adeniyi
(concussion) and CB Artie Burns (knee).
Browns: Safety Morgan Burnett sustained an Achilles injury in the first half
and didn't return.
Steelers LB T.J. Watt took down Mayfield in the third quarter, giving him eight
sacks in five career contests against the Browns. Watt has at least one-half
sack in seven straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL.
Steelers: Visit winless Cincinnati on Nov. 24.
Browns: Host Miami on Nov. 24.
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