Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph didn't mince words when asked about Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Myles Garrett ripping his helmet off and hitting him in the head with it on Thursday.
Rudolph told reporters the actions were "cowardly and bush league":
Garrett did so near the end of the Browns' 21-7 win and was ejected from the contest. Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi and Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey were also ejected. Pouncey kicked Garrett while he was on the ground, and Ogunjobi pushed Rudolph over after his scuffle with Garrett.
Rudolph's teammates were quick to come to his defense.
Offensive guard David DeCastro urged the NFL "to make a statement," while defensive end Cam Heyward pointed out "the dude was defenseless," per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.
Even Rudolph's counterpart recognized the magnitude of what happened. Baker Mayfield told Fox's Erin Andrews (h/t Jeff Darlington of ESPN), "It's inexcusable. 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."
The fight overshadowed what should have been an important win for the 4-6 Browns.
They suddenly have some momentum with two straight wins and could work their way back into the playoff picture with an easy remaining schedule that features two games against the 0-9 Cincinnati Bengals and one against the 2-7 Miami Dolphins. However, the uphill climb will be all the more difficult without Garrett, arguably their best overall player.
If nothing else, the Steelers will be even more motivated for the Dec. 1 rematch.