Browns' key win vs. Steelers marred by brawl, vicious helmet attack from Myles Garrett

The Cleveland Browns got a much needed victory against the rival Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night, but they may be losing one of their top defensive players due to suspension.

In the closing seconds of the game, Myles Garrett got tangled up with Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph. In the tussle, Garrett ripped off Rudolph’s helmet and struck the Steeler in the head with it.

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Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield called Garrett’s actions inexcusable in an interview after Cleveland won, 21-7.

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Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin declined to comment on the incident.

Here’s how game went before the incident

The Browns aren’t in a position to worry about looking good.

They need wins. Their offense disappeared for most of Thursday night, and they might not have won had the Steelers not taken on a handful of injuries, but all that mattered was the win.

The Browns aren’t exactly in the middle of the playoff race, but they’re still alive after an ugly 21-7 win over a short-handed Steelers team. The Browns are now 4-6. The Steelers are 5-5 but every week will be a challenge, considering the limitations of Rudolph and the injuries piling up on offense. Rudolph was shockingly bad on Thursday night, with four interceptions.

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The Browns still have their issues. The offense only looks good for a play or two at a time before taking steps back. Mayfield is playing better but still doesn’t have a lot of consistency. Cleveland still makes too many mistakes and takes bad penalties. And an ugly brawl at the end could lead to a suspension for Garrett, the Browns’ best defensive player.

But they’re alive, and the upcoming schedule isn’t too tough.

Browns start fast

The Browns came out looking very good. A long pass to Odell Beckham Jr. set up a quarterback sneak touchdown by Baker Mayfield. Early in the second quarter, Mayfield found a wide-open Jarvis Landry crossing the end zone for another score.

Finally it looked like the Browns had found some answers on offense. That was short-lived.

The Browns offense bogged down but the Steelers couldn’t do much about it. Pittsburgh lost five players due to injury, most notably running back James Conner and receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson. Both receivers were knocked out due to concussions. Damarious Randall was ejected for a truly dirty hit that knocked out Johnson.

The Browns got their first win over the Steelers since October of 2014. And when you look at their remaining schedule, there are a lot of winnable games coming up:

Week 12: vs. Dolphins
Week 13: at Steelers
Week 14: vs. Bengals
Week 15: at Cardinals
Week 16: vs. Ravens
Week 17: at Bengals

The Browns didn’t look like a playoff team on Thursday night. But at least there’s still hope in Cleveland, even at 4-6. The AFC isn’t too strong this season, and some team has to get the No. 6 seed.

Jarvis Landry scores a touchdown in Cleveland's win over Pittsburgh. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jarvis Landry scores a touchdown in Cleveland's win over Pittsburgh. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Browns defense puts game away

The Browns defense put the game out of its misery. Mason Rudolph threw a bad interception over the middle to linebacker Joe Schobert, who had a fantastic game, with a little more than six minutes left in the fourth quarter of a 14-7 game. On third and goal, rookie Stephen Carlson made a tremendous catch over Mark Barron in the back of the end zone for his first career catch and a touchdown that put the win on ice.

In an ideal scenario, Rudolph wasn’t going to lead two scoring drives in six minutes. Without his best running back and two key receivers, the game was over. His fourth interception, on a bad overthrow over the middle, erased any doubt.

The Browns have a few extra days to rest, and then get the Dolphins at home in Week 12. At 2-6, with plenty of questions about coach Freddie Kitchens’ job, they looked dead. Maybe Cleveland can make things interesting until the end.

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab