Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Artie Burns is beginning his second season as a full-time starter, and his third in the league overall. While he is still just 23 years old, it is the year in which he is expected to mature and take his game to another level. He had a strong training camp and solid preseason to build upon that.
While he didn’t exactly get beat up on against the Cleveland Browns yesterday, however, there was one very distinct moment in which he visible lost his cool, and it turned into a play on which he received two separate penalties because of his actions.
Somewhat reminiscent to the sequence last season between normally low-key Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green and trash-talking Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey, Burns seemed at the end of the play to just get fed up with Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry and threw him down to the ground.
While neither party commented on whether there was any trash talking involved, Landry is known to be just that on the field, and he certainly doesn’t have any difficulty coming up with boastful comments to make off the field as well. It’s probably a safe bet that there were some verbal exchanges by that point in the game, early in the second half.
So perhaps Landry’s overzealous downfield block was the tipping point rather than the sole catalyst. As Burns was backpedaling, Landry pushed the cornerback down, perhaps with a piece of his facemask, and as they landed, the receiver also landed with his full weight on his opponent, including falling on his helmet.
And the receiver continued to grip his jersey as they got up, possibly jawing. By that point, Burns put his right arm around the receiver’s neck and got him in a hold, tossing him to the ground. Landry visibly allowed it to happen, arms extended, to draw the penalty. The first penalty, anyway. Burns added to it by removing his helmet in anger after that.
Said Burns after the game, “I lost my cool. I just kind of snapped”, according to Jeremy Fowler. He added that he has to “keep [his] professionalism] while taking the blame for allowing the Browns to go on to score on that drive.
Steelers CB Artie Burns on 15-yard penalty for ripping his helmet off in scuffle with Jarvis Landry: “I lost my cool. I just kind of snapped…I’ve got to keep my professionalism.” Said he feels responsible for Browns scoring off that drive.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) September 9, 2018
The Browns had the ball with first and 10 on their own third-yard line before the play, and gained three yards on it, which would have made it second and seven. The penalty moved them up to the 31 and fired them up.
What followed was seven consecutive runs for 69 yards and a touchdown, including three of more than 10 yards, culminating in a 20-yard scramble by quarterback Tyrod Taylor for the firs Browns points of the season.
Burns is right about needing to keep his cool, and hopefully he learned something from that, especially since he’s going to be facing Landry twice a year for years. It seemed after that that the coaches tried to keep Burns off of Landry, even playing him on the left side.