The Cleveland Browns intercepted quarterback Mason Rudolph four times and Baker Mayfield passed for two touchdowns and ran for another to lift the Browns to a 21-7 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night.
What the game lacked in execution it more than made up for with carnage. Both teams were hit hard with injuries throughout the night as James Connor, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, Morgan Burnett, Olasunkanmi Adeniyi and Artie Burns were all knocked out of the game with injuries. Smith-Schuster and Johnson were both concussed in hits by Browns defenders. The hit to Johnson by Damarious Randall led to an ejection as well.
Then on one of the last snaps of the game, Myles Garrett was ejected from the game after ripping Rudolph’s helmet off and then swinging it and connecting with Rudolph’s skull as part of a melee that sullied the final moments. Steelers players came rushing to Rudolph’s defense and center Maurkice Pouncey took to kicking Garrett at the bottom of the pile. Browns defensive end Larry Ogunjobi also knocked Rudolph to the ground as well as benches cleared.
Rudolph had seemingly taken offense to Garrett pulling him to the turf long after he had gotten rid of the ball and began shoving Garrett on the ground when Garrett grabbed and removed Rudolph’s helmet as the two got to their feet. Rudolph then went to confront Garrett as David DeCastro tried to push Garrett away when the Browns defensive end drilled Rudolph in the head with his own helmet. Pouncey then came jumping in throwing punches at Garrett as he and DeCastro tumbled to the ground and Pouncey continued kicking Garrett.
Garrett, Ogunjobi and Pouncey were all three ejected from the game with eight seconds remaining. Fines and suspensions will almost certainly be coming against the trio.
Mayfield completed 17 of 32 passes for 193 yards and two touchdowns passing and a rushing touchdown, and Nick Chubb added 92 yards on 27 carries to carry the Browns offense.
Meanwhile, Rudolph struggled with three of his top offensive weapons sidelined. He finished the contest 23 of 44 for 221 yards with a touchdown and the four interceptions.
Mayfield score on a 1-yard touchdown run on the opening drive to give Cleveland an early lead after a 43-yard strike to Odell Beckham Jr. came up just shy of the end zone. Mayfield would connect with Jarvis Landry for a 1-yard touchdown that pushed the lead to 14-0 in the second quarter.
Jaylyn Samuels would score on a 3-yard pass from Rudolph in the third quarter to make it a one-score game, but Rudolph’s interceptions thwarted any chances of a comeback late. Joe Schobert‘s second pick of Rudolph set up an 8-yard touchdown pass from Mayfield to Stephen Carlson with 5:25 remaining. Juston Burris would pick off Rudolph on the next Pittsburgh drive to wrap up the win for Cleveland.
Burnett intercepted Rudolph as well before an Achilles injury knocked him out of the game.
It’s the first time the Browns have beaten the Steelers and Baltimore Ravens in the same season ever, but that reality was quickly derailed by the madness at the end of the game.