Browns brawl with the Steelers results in longest suspension in NFL history

Ishan Kulkarni, Staff Reporter

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In one of the wildest games of the NFL season so far, the Cleveland Browns prevailed over the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-7 on Thursday night in their Week 11 matchup. The Steelers came into the game without their two leading contributors, running back James Conner and receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, and the Browns looked to capitalize on that.  From the coin toss onwards, the Browns come out strong. They scored a touchdown in each of the first two quarters, going up 14-0 into halftime. In the third quarter, the Steelers built some momentum by scoring a touchdown to bring the game within reach at 14-7. The Browns then pulled away, leading 21-7 into the fourth quarter. The game was thought to be all but over when, in the last eight seconds, chaos ensued.

Browns’ defensive end Myles Garrett and Steelers’ quarterback Mason Rudolph got into an altercation that ended in a bench-clearing brawl between teams. Garrett seemed to rip off Rudolph’s helmet after bringing him down. Rudolph, who was understandably angry, proceeded to follow Garrett to recover his helmet. Garrett then swung the helmet and hit Rudolph in the head. Steelers’ center Maurkice Pouncey then began to punch and kick Garrett. Meanwhile, sidelines cleared as teammates tried to break up the fight to prevent further issues.

Many players commented on the fight after the game had ended. Browns’ quarterback Baker Mayfield criticized Garrett’s actions, saying, “It’s inexcusable and [Garrett] knows that.” Many other players criticized Garrett during postgame conferences, calling his action “bush league” and “ugly.”

Besides the last seconds of the game, the Browns handled their business and took advantage of a depleted Steelers team. Nick Chubb led all players in rushing with 92 yards from 27 carries, while Browns’ star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. led all receivers with 60 yards on only 4 receptions. One of Beckham Jr.’s catches was a 42 yarder, which helped the Browns gain momentum to push for a score. Mayfield threw for 193 yards and 2 touchdowns without throwing any interceptions. 

The real fallout from the game came the next day, when the NFL announced suspensions and fines for both teams due to the fight. Garrett was suspended indefinitely without pay for the rest of the season at a minimum, the longest single suspension handed out by the NFL in league history. Pouncey was suspended three games for retaliating and Browns’ defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi was suspended for one game for pushing Rudolph onto the ground after he had gotten up following Garrett’s helmet strike. Both teams were fined $250,000 for the altercation. 

The Browns look to move on and carry their momentum into the next game against the Miami Dolphins this Sunday and the Steelers will play in a rematch in two weeks.