The Cleveland Browns walked off their home field Thursday night with a 21-7 win over their AFC North rivals, but what transpired on the field in the waning seconds against the Pittsburgh Steelers hardly felt like a victory.
A large brawl — which NFL analyst Joe Buck called “one of the worst things” he’s seen in pro sports — broke out after Browns defensive end Myles Garrett took down Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph and ripped his helmet off, eventually swinging it and striking Rudolph in the head. Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey flew in after Garrett was taken to the turf and landed a kick to his helmet, while Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi knocked down Rudolph as he complained to a nearby official.
The whole scene was an ugly look for the Browns, as star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. told NFL Network after watching a replay of the brawl for the first time.
“As I’m seeing it now, it’s really bad,” Beckham said alongside teammate and fellow wideout Jarvis Landry. “It’s just ugly.”
Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield wasted no time disavowing Garrett’s actions, calling the entire thing “inexcusable” in his on-field interview in the postgame with Fox. Meanwhile, Beckham was a little more specific about calling out his teammate when speaking with reporters in the locker room after the game.
“For what direction we’re heading for this organization, it was not where we’ve been going and it does feel like we lost the game,” Beckham said. “As much as you want to put a smile on and walk out of here, there was so much in that game that there is to look it, so it’s just back to the drawing board, just be 1-0 next week. That’s all we can focus on is Miami right now. Whatever consequences (there are) for our actions, we’ll take it on the chin like a man.”
Beckham said there was “no place in the game” for that type of thing, but he did say he hopes Garrett and others involved will own up to their actions and eventually be able to push the incident “to the back burner” rather than let the fight ruin their careers.
“I’m happy to see that the team will stick together and you have your brother’s back, but Myles can’t put us in a position like that. He’s a good dude, so I don’t really know what else to say.”
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Beckham Appears to Taunt Mike Tomlin With Yawn
Before the violence broke out, Beckham and Landry both were fueling the rivalry with the Steelers some with a little jawing against opposing coach Mike Tomlin.
Each of the Browns wide receivers celebrated at least one reception on the night with a handing-waving yawn toward the Steelers sideline, appearing to mock Tomlin for making the same gesture during the offseason when discussing Beckham’s arrival in Cleveland.
Beckham’s catch, which was just short of a long touchdown, concluded with some exchanged words between OBJ and Tomlin, though nothing problematic came from it as the Browns cruised on to victory. Beckham finished with four receptions for 60 yards.