One of the most curious things about the events that unfolded at the end of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ game against the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night is the simple fact that these two teams are going to play one another again…two weeks from today.
Myles Garrett will not be there, of course. The third-year defensive end was given an indefinite suspension that will carry through at least the 2019 postseason. Before he is able to play again, he will have to file for reinstatement from Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey won’t be there, either. For his actions in defending his teammate, Mason Rudolph, following Garrett’s assault, which saw him punch and kick the Browns defender, he received a three-game suspension.
Larry Ogunjobi, however, will be there. Ogunjobi the player who shoved Rudolph after Garrett hit him in the head, and the quarterback was looking around for an official with his helmet off making sure that they saw what happened. He knocked Rudolph to the ground while he wasn’t looking, and later said he was defending his teammate.
Rudolph, too, will be there, of course. And it’s hard to predict what all of this will mean. From the post-game interviews on both sides of the ball, there were mixed opinions about whether or not tensions will be escalated the next time around.
One important thing to consider is that it was the prevailing opinion that there was nothing out of the ordinary in the game’s first 59-plus minutes. Said Mark Barron, “they played that way, and I like it”. Former Browns cornerback Joe Haden said that “it wasn’t getting out of hand” before that, chalking it up to a physical game in which such things that had occurred “happen all the time”.
The thing is, this kind of stuff can’t matter right now. It’s now Sunday, and it’s time to focus. We’re on to Cincinnati. The Steelers’ next opponent is the Cincinnati Bengals, and in spite of the fact that they’ll almost surely be 0-10 by the end of the day, this is not a team that can afford to take anybody lightly right now.
“We can’t dwell on” the Browns and the upcoming game against them in two weeks, cornerback Mike Hilton said. “We’ll see them in a couple weeks, but we have to get ready for Cincinnati first”.
The Steelers are 5-5 with six games to play and are sitting half a game out of the sixth Wildcard spot. In addition to the next two games against the Bengals (away) and Browns (at home), they still have to travel to face the Arizona Cardinals, the New York Jets, and finally the Baltimore Ravens, along with one final home game against the Buffalo Bills, who currently own the fifth seed. So no, they can’t be worrying about the Browns right now.