"It's inexcusable," Mayfield told Fox Sports' Erin Andrews when discussing Garrett's decision to rip off Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph's helmet and hit him with it (h/t Jeff Darlington of ESPN). "Rivalry or not, we can't do that. ... That's endangering the other team. That's inexcusable. ... The reality is, he's going to get suspended. ... It's inexcusable."
Garrett, Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi and Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey were ejected following the skirmish near the end of the game. Pouncey kicked Garrett in the helmet while the defensive lineman was on the ground.
Head coach Freddie Kitchens said he was "embarrassed," while wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry were not happy either:
On the other side, the Steelers were calling for a suspension:
Mayfield's assessment that Garrett's actions hurt the team was spot on, especially with a looming suspension.
Despite an abysmal 2-6 start, the Browns have won two games in a row and have an easy remaining schedule that includes a game against the 2-7 Miami Dolphins and two against the 0-9 Cincinnati Bengals. A late playoff push is not out of the question at 4-6 with that slate.
However, Cleveland's defense can ill afford to be without Garrett for that stretch run.
He is the best player on the team, and he wasted no time making an impact after the AFC North squad selected him with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2017 NFL draft. He notched seven sacks as a rookie, 13.5 sacks last year as a Pro Bowler and already has 10 sacks this year.
His presence also forces opposing offensive lines to commit multiple blockers his way and open up lanes for his teammates to pressure the quarterback and stuff the run.
How long he is suspended for could determine the Browns' fate, while the fight will serve as a backdrop for the rematch on Dec. 1.