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It was an ordinary Thursday Night Football Game. The Cleveland Browns dominated the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-7 in a game that wasn’t even as close as the score indicated. The Browns’ defense stood out in this game as they intercepted Steelers’ quarterback Mason Rudolph four times and shut down the Steelers’ offense. The Browns won their second game in a row and improved to 4-6 to still have an outside chance at the playoffs. However, this does not matter as the last 13 seconds of this game were way more significant than the first 59:47 of the game.
Mason Rudolph, in garbage time, threw a shovel pass to running back Trey Edmunds. As he released the ball, he was tackled to the ground by Browns’ defensive end Myles Garrett. As Garrett laid on top of Rudolph, Rudolph, clearly frustrated after throwing four interceptions, was trying to pin Garrett and tried to pull his helmet off.
Garrett then loses his cool and goes at Rudolph. He shoves him, then Garrett takes off Rudolph’s helmet and then proceeds to hit him on the head with it. Then Steelers’ center Maurkice Pouncey goes off on Garrett and punches him and kicks him in the head while he is pinned down by other Steelers’ offensive lineman. While that is happening, Rudolph is walking away from the play and Browns’ defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi shoves Mason Rudolph to the ground.
The following morning, the NFL was quick to discipline those involved in the brawl. The Steelers and Browns were each fined $250,000, and Mason Rudolph will be fined $35,096. Larry Ogunjobi is suspended for one game, Maurkice Pouncey three games, and Myles Garrett has been suspended indefinitely with the minimum being the rest of the regular season and any potential playoff games the Browns may play.
Here is an analysis of each suspension and whether or not the suspension was right.
Suspension: None, but fined $35,096
Imagine a frat party. You have the privileged and entitled fat boy who is frustrated that he is not having a good night, and then he decides to pick a fight with someone taller and stronger man who just made an innocent joke. The frat boy starts fighting him for no good reason and understandably so, the bigger and stronger man gets upset and retaliates. He goes too far and knocks the frat boy out cold. Obviously, the strong man should not have done that, but who started the fight in the first place? The frat boy. The frat when he wakes up is victimized and gets away with a slap on the wrist.
That is what this brawl was. Mason Rudolph was the frat boy that instigated the fight and Myles Garrett was the bigger and stronger man who lost control and went too far. As much as Garrett is in the wrong, Rudolph should get a lot of blame for this too. He had no justification for starting the fight and he set off this whole brawl in motion. The one who started it should always receive some of the blame. Rudolph also didn’t take any responsibility after the game, and instead attacked Garrett and called his move a “bush league move.” That’s a weak move by Rudolph. As the quarterback of the team, you need to step up and take responsibility as a leader on the team.
He should have gotten a two games suspension for instigating the brawl.
Suspension: Rest of the season
While Rudolph started the fight, Garrett more than crossed the line with what he did. He should have been better and not lose your cool like that. Swinging his helmet at someone without a helmet on is extremely dangerous. Garrett is very strong and to swing something that weighs six pounds at someone’s head is disgusting. Garrett is lucky he didn’t hit the temple or other sensitive areas in the head as that could have caused some severe damage.
Garrett deserves to be suspended for the rest of the season. He has committed four personal fouls this season and needs to take the time to clean up his play if he wants to have a fruitful career still. Let’s hope he can learn from this but regardless, his reputation is shot. No one who saw this will forget it and officials are now going to be watching him like a hawk from here on out.
Suspension: Three games
While I applaud Pouncey for standing up for his teammate, kicking a man while he is down is a dirty move. Garrett was already pinned down and kicking him in the head was not necessary. He is a vital piece to the Steelers, and they will miss him going forward. A completely irresponsible move by Pouncey as he could have just pushed him away from the play.
Suspension: One game
Like Maurkice Pouncey, what Ogunjobi did was not necessary. Rudolph was simply walking away from the play and Ogunjobi just shoves him to the ground. It was an unnecessary and dirty cheap shot, but not enough where it deserved more than one game.
Overall, it was a big win for the Browns and a tough loss for the Steelers. Due to the suspensions, both teams will be without key players going forward. Unfortunately, this has left a black mark on the season of both teams going forward.