An ugly and violent scene took place in Cleveland's FirstEnergy Stadium on Thursday as Browns defensive end Myles Garrett ripped off Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph's helmet and hit him in the head with it:
The brawl took place with time running out in the Browns' 21-7 win over the Steelers.
Rudolph completed an 11-yard pass to Trey Edmunds with 14 seconds remaining. Garrett tackled Rudolph and landed on him, and the quarterback took exception.
Chaos ensued. Garrett hit Rudolph in the head with his helmet, Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey punched and kicked Garrett, and Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi pushed the quarterback to the ground.
Garrett, Pouncey and Ogunjobi were ejected, and the game ended after two more plays.
Two of the NFL's biggest stars—Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt—were stunned.
The brawl's aftermath could have long-lasting repercussions, most notably for Garrett.
Others believed that Garrett should be suspended for far longer, with Connor Hughes of The Athletic suggesting the possibility of an outright ban:
There isn't a direct precedent the NFL can follow, although ESPN's Kevin Seifert noted that ex-Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth received a five-game suspension (the longest in league history for a single on-field incident) for stomping on ex-Dallas Cowboys interior offensive lineman Andre Gurode's head.
Per the Associated Press, Gurode received 30 stitches and suffered from headaches and blurred vision.
Oakland Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict was suspended for the season earlier this year for a hit on Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle, though Burfict's history played a role in the length of his ban.
As for Thursday, ESPN's Louis Riddick noted that Rudolph could have been hurt far worse than he appeared:
Ex-Steelers linebacker James Harrison tweeted that the act would have far greater consequences off the field:
Thankfully, Rudolph told reporters after the game that he was "fine" while also mentioning that he felt the act was "cowardly" and "bush league," per Steelers reporter Missi Matthews.
Numerous players spoke postgame. Garrett took time with reporters and said he "made a mistake" and "lost his cool."
Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield told Fox Sports' Erin Andrews (h/t CBS Sports' Will Brinson): "Rivalry or not, we can't do that. ... We're endangering the other team. That's inexcusable. ... The reality is he's going to get suspended."
Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens said he was "embarrassed."
Garrett may not be the only player facing punishment, however, as Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that "all players involved in the heinous incident are going to be under review by the NFL for possible suspensions."
The chippy, penalty-filled game between the two AFC North rivals was already noteworthy before the final seconds.
Browns safety Damarious Randall received an ejection for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Steelers wideout Diontae Johnson, who was seen bleeding from his right ear as he left the field. Cleveland also received eight penalties for 121 yards on the evening.
The two teams will meet each other again soon, with the Steelers hosting the Browns on December 1.