The Cleveland Browns picked up a important win on Thursday night, moving to 4-6 by besting their rival Pittsburgh Steelers 21-7 in a matchup of AFC North rivals.
But instead of celebrating the win, the Browns will be forced to answer questions about what happened with 8 seconds left in the game, when Myles Garrett swung a helmet at Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph after they tussled on the ground.
When asked about the incident after the game, Rudolph did not mince words when asked about his encounter with the Browns defensive end.
“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.”
Regardless of who “started” the fight, there’s no doubt what Garrett did was inexcusable. Not that Rudolph is completely exonerated for his actions, but what happened was a serious assault that could have ended up much worse than it did.
Myles Garrett Addresses Fight With Mason Rudolph
Garrett addressed the incident in the locker room, admitting he lost his cool but not appearing to completely grasp the severity of the situation.
“A win’s a win. I don’t think it’s overshadowed by what happened in eight seconds,” Garrett told reporters. “I made a mistake; I lost my cool. … It’s going to come back to hurt our team. The guys who jumped in the scrum, I appreciate my teammates having my back, but it shouldn’t have gotten that far. That’s on me.”
Odell Beckham didn’t quite agree with Garrett, telling reporters “it does feel like we lost the game.
The NFL has not issued a statement on the issue as of yet, but reports have surfaced that the Browns are worried Garrett — who has 10 sacks this season — could be lost for the year.
Freddie Kitchens, Browns Embarrassed by Incident
Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens has preached for his team to control their emotions on the field and to play with more discipline. Seeing his star defensive end swinging a helmet just seconds away from a victory means his message is not getting through.
“That’s not who we want to be at the end of the game. That’s not who Myles wants to be. That’s not who we’re gonna be,” Kitchens told reporters after the game. “You have to be able to maintain your composure in times like that.
“I’m embarrassed. Myles is embarrassed. It’s not good. He understands what he did. He understands it’s totally unacceptable and we’ve got to get through it.”
Quarterback Baker Mayfield did not hold back when asked about Garrett in his postgame presser either.
“The reality is, he’s going to get suspended,” Mayfield said. “We don’t know how long, and that hurts our team. We can’t do that. We can’t continue to hurt this team. It’s inexcusable.”
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin did not want to talk about the brawl one bit after the game.
“I’ll keep my thoughts to myself,” Tomlin said. “You saw what happened in the end.”
The teams will see each other again on Dec. 1 in another key game. This time, Pittsburgh will have the home field edge and there’s no doubt the noise will be close to an all-time high.