Just two weeks after one of the ugliest brawls in recent NFL history, the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers are facing each other again next Sunday.
As you might have heard, Myles Garrett, the primary instigator of the brawl, will not be playing in that rematch or any other game for the rest of the season. The status of the other major figure of the brawl, Mason Rudolph, is also suddenly in doubt after his benching against the Cincinnati Bengals this Sunday.
The Browns seem eager to get another shot at the quarterback, and not just because of leftover bad blood. There’s also the matter of his play, or lack thereof, against them.
The Browns want Mason Rudolph
Lost in the absolute chaos of Garrett’s helmet swinging was that, prior to getting conked on the head, Rudolph had just posted the worst game of his career. Rudolph simply looked lost against a middling Browns defense, throwing a career-high four interceptions with only 221 yards on 23-of-44 passing in a 21-7 loss.
That left Browns defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson hoping for a second game against Rudolph, and probably not for reasons Steelers fans want to hear.
Rudolph did little to change that perception of his play this Sunday, hitting the bench in the third quarter against the winless Bengals after going just 8 of 16 for 85 yards and an interception He was replaced by undrafted rookie Devlin Hodges, who eventually led the Steelers to a 16-10 victory.
Despite the stronger play from Hodges, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was noncommittal after the game on who will start next week against the Browns.
Adding to the drama is Garrett’s claim that Rudolph used a racial slur against him prior to the brawl. However, the NFL said it found no evidence of that and none of Garrett’s teammates seemed to back him up, including Richardson. Regardless, Rudolph isn’t very popular in Browns country these days judging from a piñata used by Browns fans on Sunday.
Whoever does start for the Steelers, it will be in an early afternoon game after CBS flexed the matchup to 1 p.m. ET in favor of an AFC West clash between the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders.
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