Football Outsiders
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Week 11 Open Game Discussion

LA Rams running back Todd Gurley
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

Your Thursday nighter sees Pittsburgh (5-4) traveling to Cleveland (3-6) in hopes of ending the Browns' playoff hopes. Big Sunday games include Houston (6-3) at Baltimore (7-2), New England (8-1) at Philadelphia (5-4), and ... um, Chicago (4-5) at the Rams (5-4) in prime time? It's not the best week of games. It closes on Monday night with Kansas City (6-4) "at" the Chargers (4-6) in Mexico City. Use this thread to discuss them all.


170 comments, Last at 18 Nov 2019, 2:02pm

1 Pick

Pick fof thursday night

Browns 19, syeelers 16

Not very confident with this game at alll. Will watch ti and see what haopens

2 I thought about watching…

I thought about watching tonight's game. Then I heard the discordant voices of Buck and Aikman when I changed the channel, so now I'm back to watching the news. I'm not interested enough in Steelers/ Browns to deal with those blowhards for three hours.

3 Do you have surround sound?…

Do you have surround sound? Does your system allow you to turn off the center/front channel? All the blather comes from there, and the other speakers are just crowd noise, which is all I want to hear. 

Also, FWIW, Aikman hasn't been as bad this year as he has in the past, and this is from one of the most vehemently anti-Aikman guys on this site. He's still not good, but I haven't hated him as much this year as I usually do. 

6 Rigjt after I say that,…

Rigjt after I say that, Aikman makes me regret it. He brought up how "the Steelers have been in positions like this [down multiple scores] before" and how they came back to win against Miami. "But that game was in Pittsburgh," he sagely added, as if that is the important difference that meant the Steelers could get back in it, rather than the fact that they were playing Miami. I LOLed.


4 Aikman ans Vuck

I do nto mind them.  Vut am mostly watching michigan state vs Seton Hall game anyway. That is at halftime  now so csme here to reae new posts

8 MSU has not looked very good…

In reply to by Raiderjoe

MSU has not looked very good but they are ahead at the half even with Winston out for the last 6-7 minutes with two fouls and Henry out with an injury with about 5 minutes left. 

37 SHU

Cale and Mamukelashvili are alright offensive  players. Gill is not good on offense. Obiagu has likw an otis thorpe type build and is mostly just a dunker right now. Nelson, Rhoden and Samuel are underclassmen who have soem offensive ability but are still ij developmental stage. 


Powell does have to score a lto against top teams. Against crappier temas, they cna get by with subpar Powell 


Wioll attend Xavier -SHU gane this season

5 Do not understand CLE play calling

They have Chubb AND Kamara yet they keep on throwing, against a defense that does two things well—rush the QB and intercept passes. Browns are up two TDs but I have no confidence that Kitchens will be able to sustain it.

9 Browns are getting…

Browns are getting consistent pressure on Mason and taking away easy targets. A perfectly placed bump took away the ball as soon as the Steelers started moving the ball. Only 14-0 but all the momentum is with Cleveland.

11 That was a horrid first half…

That was a horrid first half of football by the Steelers O. Thursday night football at it's ugliest.

It's a tough situation he's in, behind a porous O-line, but Rudolph is doing stupid things. Against an overload blitz on the left with the Browns bringing more men than the Steelers have back to block, Rudolph … pump fakes??? He had time to throw it, but the pump fake and then attempted throw led to a fumble. Recovered, but at a 14 yard loss, which pushed them out of FG range (from which they then continued to retreat).

When Rudolph has made good decisions and throws, the receivers are letting him down. When they haven't gone backwards, their FG holder fumbles the snap. Ahhh, Thursday night games.

Still feels like the Steelers are only one INT away from turning the game around, but if the D can't get a turnover, not sure the O is capable of sustaining a long drive tonight.

13 STICK TO SPORTS, NFL!!!!!!!!…


No, the troops are not the reason we have football. Holy shit, fuck that advertisement. This pisses me off so hard.

Conservative politics = A.O.K.

Liberal politics = bringing politics into sports

15 Missed it, but I agree. The…

Missed it, but I agree. The jingoism needs to stop. That's what started the whole Kaep issue to begin with. The NFL using our soldiers for marketing purposes is pretty sick. If the owners want to support the troops, they are more than welcome to actually contribute to veterans and their families.

66 This post is mild, but still…

This post is mild, but still a violation of the NO POLITICS rule. Moderatiors, please delete this . IMO, conservative politics is not AOK but destroying America with lies.  It is conservatives who have consistently brought politics into sports since the beginning and then complained when liberals do. This is bullshit. Yes, delete this too. But please also delete the original post or admit that you only allow conservatives to politically bash people here. 

79 Litteracy Issues

"No, the troops are not the reason we have football. Holy shit, fuck that advertisement. This pisses me off so hard.

Conservative politics = A.O.K.

Liberal politics = bringing politics into sports" 

I think you pretty badly misread the above. It's clearly a sarcastic critique indicating that in the writers opinion it is not appropriate to link football to Americana or tangentially to veterans causes. All this clearly falls into politics which is supposed to be off limits for this board so hopefully this closes it - but common man.

Broadly speaking though people who wish that the NFL would stop linking into things like veterans causes, breast cancer awareness month, or suggesting linking football to Americana are probably out of luck though. The majority of Americans (both by population and critically by dollar-weighted population) continue to think of these as a-political good causes (true or not) and so they remain good ways to maximize league revenues. If you want to change that you'll have to change people's minds and buying habits.

120 OK. Technically the rule…

OK. Technically the rule states, "Please limit political commentary as much as possible, as it tends to dominate any thread in which it's started." There was no reason to bring it here. You can't blame the NFL for something you did. These displays happen several times a year at NFL games. We all know it happens. I'm a veteran, so I don't see these displays as anything but patriotic, though many people will twist that noble statement for their own purposes. That includes people in the audience. If you want to interpret them to bring them into a political statement, that's on you

122 Okay, let's talk history…

Okay, let's talk history instead of politics. The ad claims that the troops are the literal reason we are able to have football, and it wasn't talking about WWII vets. So what wars have we fought that made America safer in any way? Arguably the first Gulf War, but even then the US was never under any threat of not being able to stage NFL games. So from a historical perspective, the ad is full of shit. I am not sorry for calling out factually inaccurate bullshit. 

16 What is Cleveland booing…

What is Cleveland booing about? That cornerback needed to be ejected, and every other penalty has been clear as day from miles away.

17 And with the announcers…

And with the announcers casually talking about a severely concussed player bleeding from his fucking ear, I am done with football for the night! We need to ban football. The sport should not exist.

65 15-3 this season, their best…

15-3 this season, their best record in their 150 year history counting from the founding of the Hamilton Tigers football club in 1869; counting from their merger with the cross-town Hamilton Wild Cats in 1950, it's their best record in a 69 year history.  

Either way, they host the Eastern finals this Sunday, one game away from the Grey Cup, and I'm certain they'll find a way to sour their great season by honking this game at home.  Such is the nature of fandom.  Watching NFL games is so much less stressful


64 Given in Rugby you are…

Given in Rugby you are generally not allowed to touch the player in the air that penalty could go either way if the referee was having a bad day (though TV replays generally sort things, except the fiasco of forward pass rules...).

Though to be more serious the impetus in both Rugby codes and American Football to finally do something about concussions is good to see, even if in many cases a long time coming. What is interesting is that people are also finally discussing the aftereffects of too much heading the ball in Association Football as well (I seem to remember hearing about one of the old time '50s or '60s players who would never head the ball in practice because he felt it couldn't be healthy).

I suspect that as more players/coaches who have been active in a more enlightened era take to the commentary box that such things will be taken more seriously by the commentators too. Hopefully the NFLPA will push hard for post-retirement healthcare and the costs of that should hopefully incentivise the league into paying for more research too.

18 Wanted to see Tomlin go for…

Wanted to see Tomlin go for 2 there, down by 8 with a little over a quarter to go.

But considering how much trouble the Steelers have had converting 3rd- and 4th- and short, he might have been right to stick to the traditional 1 pointer.

21 curiously bad decision-making

When your team is up 7 and you've already had a key defender ejected, and your kicker has already missed a FG attempt, you might not want to try a FG that is longer than any he's ever made.

Somehow, the Steelers blow the opportunity, because their current offense is "try to get PI called."

24 Mason coughs it up with a…

Mason coughs it up with a real WTF pass and the Steelers are -3 in turnover margin and down 14 with little time left. May as well put Duck in to close it out.

26 The first pick was a mental…

The first pick was a mental error / inexperience.  He didn't recognize what the LB was doing, got locked in on his receiver and threw the ball right to the backpeddling defender.

The second one was a physical error, overthrowing the intended receiver by way more than an NFL QB should be overthrowing their target.

So at least Rudolph was mixing it up out there.

The OL protection was better in the second half, but the results were no better for Pittsburgh.  Other than one penalty-fueled drive, they could go nowhere.  The receiving corps was decimated, but so was Cleveland's secondary.  Mostly, Rudolph was struggling to operate the offense.  Even when he wasn't throwing picks.  That and Pittsburgh's short yardage offense was horrible (which itself might also be related to Rudolph not reading the D properly).

27 stay classy

slamming helmet into head after ripping it off, kicking, punching...

with less than 10 seconds left in the game.

Myles Garrett can't be doing that. He has to know better.

28 Myles Garrett rips off…

Myles Garrett rips off Mason's helmet and hits him with it, prompting Maurkice Pouncey to knock him over and start whaling on him, and now it looks like a Steelers Bengals game

29 I love when they have to "finish the game"

when Steelers turn over ball on downs with 5 seconds left, down 14 points.

Couldn't the officials just stipulate that the Browns can take a knee and win the game?

30 Whoa. Cleveland was…

Whoa. Cleveland was thugging it up earlier in the game with a bunch of head hits prior to the ejection. But that's nothing to the end of the game.

Myles Garrett pulled Rudolph's helmet off and then swung it, hitting Rudolph in the head.

Pouncey looked like he was going to try to kill Garrett, swinging at him and trying to kick him in the head, but another Steeler (DeCastro?) ended up falling down on top of Garrett and likely saved him from some of the retribution Pouncey was trying to inflict. Might have saved Pouncey from a suspension, too, although the attempt to kick Garrett in the head will probably earn him some time off in addition to a fine.

No idea what Garrett's penalty will be, but I wouldn't be surprised if he's done for the year.

33 Garrett should be suspended…

Garrett should be suspended indefinitely. Browns should forfeit the game. Kitchens should be suspended for the rest of the year. The team should be fined a first round draft pick and $20 million, counting against their cap.
What is wrong with that team? That's an entire broken institution. I'm not even sure the Browns should continue as an organization after that. What a complete embarrassment to the league.

35 The Browns should be…

The Browns should be disbanded. The NFL should prohibit any team from setting up shop there again. Their entire coaching staff should locked up, and Garrett deserves the electric chair. FirstEnergy Stadium should be torn down and the ground salted. Any fans cheering Garrett at the end should be rounded up against a wall and shot.

43 I think it goes deeper than…

I think it goes deeper than that. I blame the culture of the NFC North as ultimately responsible for this incident. I think you're going to need to relegate all four teams and promote the SEC's top four teams.

46 That's a great idea! I've…

That's a great idea! I've always thought that there shouldn't be rivalries within the division. Instead, each division should band together to destroy other divisions. The AFC North should invade Detroit! Once that's conquered, it will be a great place to stage an assault on Chicago... then on to Green Bay and Minnestoa!!!

57 It takes a pretty awful…

It takes a pretty awful excuse of a human being to gloss over that attack, after a game filled with acts building up to it. Clearly it was coached by the team to lay some dirty hits in, and that's what they did all game, culminating in that completely insane assault.
The culture is broken in Cleveland. 
When the culture is broken, the best thing to do is to go in, disband it, get rid of all the horrible people that think that sort of assault is ok, and build it again fresh, with new people, who possess some sort of integrity and morality. 
The team should be disbanded. Of all the awful people that own football teams, Haslam is one of the worst. It's no surprise that his organization reflects that.

61 We've tried that. We…

We've tried that.

We disbanded the Browns the last time they had a broken culture and were led by man without integrity or morality. That's how we ended up with this version of the Browns.

Jesus, can you imagine what a third cycle would look like? It would be like going from Harkonnen to Sardaukar to Fremen!

85 I'm glad you are responding…

I'm glad you are responding to a post which is itself a satirical response to your own insane post.


How is Myles Garrett horrendous decision a reflection on the Browns organization, their coaches, or the other players??? 


If someone in your family commits a felony, should we proactively jail the rest of the family by association?

112 I'm assuming you didn't…

I'm assuming you didn't watch the game. The Myles assault was just the last of a long list of cheap shots and attempts to injure throughout the game. There were three Steeler players knocked out with concussions. Three! Including one that had blood coming out his ear.  That is on the coach, and that is on the organization. 
Read Todd Haley's comments on it, which are exactly what every coach in the league is thinking and saying privately. 
The New Orleans Saints were penalized when their coach did the same thing. 

34 Looking at it again, Garrett…

Looking at it again, Garrett can't play in the league again. He's got to be done after that. Using the helmet as a weapon to hit a quarterback in the head. Can you imagine what would happen to him if that was Tom Brady?

48 Oh, that's easy

If it was Brady who was targetted like that, the Patriots would lose their first round draft pick, be fined a million dollars, and have fans trying to discredit super bowl wins from 15 years ago because it was more likely than not that Brady had knowledge that a staffer of the Patriots would have used the pressure differentials in the stadium to cause Garrett to make that swing, using a mind control device just outside of the range where it was legal to use mind control devices.

71 well, gee

The NFL presented a case based on fraudulent physics that any educated person could see was false, and 31 fan bases lined up behind the personal smears that  resulted.

The "persecution complex" will go away when the NFL apologizes for the fraud.  They could start by releasing all the PSI measurements that they took back in 2015 that showed the Patriots' air pressure measurements were entirely ordinary and un-interesting.

BTW, given how close the Super Bowl was two years ago, it's easy to argue that the Pats lost a Super Bowl in part because the NFL fraudulently stripped them of two draft picks.

Look, when there are two separate examples of the Jets getting off with a slap on the wrist, followed by nuclear penalties to the Patriots for exactly the same charges, it feels reasonable to infer that the NFL league office is happy to over-punish the Patriots based on personal dislike for Belichick, or some other reason that is unclear.  Maybe it stems from all the former Jets executives that work there who lost their prior jobs because they kept losing to the Pats?  

146 it's funny

How people buy an initial story, no matter how bad the evidence is supporting it, and then respond with ad hominem attacks whenever somebody tries to correct the mistake.

113 I read that particular piece…

In reply to by RickD

I read that particular piece of fan fiction that you are citing here. It is a ludicrous piece of garbage that doesn't stand up to the barest level of scrutiny, which is why the only people who choose to believe it, are Patriot fans.
Tom Brady and the Patriots deflated the footballs. They got caught. They got punished. They should have been punished worse. 
One might think that the Patriot fans could take all the wins and super bowl championships and be a little happy. But no. Still constantly whining. What more do you people want? 

148 hmm

I'd like you to recognize your bias, ever.

But I'm never going to get that.  Because you've never been trained to admit your own biases.  Instead you come here and revel in them.

74 It is indeed pretty funny. …

It is indeed pretty funny.  The only thing that's as pathetic is your frequent, borderline anti-Semitic rants that the NFL is involved with Robert Kraft and Sheldon Adelson in order to fix the games so the Patriots win...all evidence to the contrary.  I do applaud you, however, in being consistent with regard to your call for draconian punishment to a non-New England franchise.

In this case, Garrett should be suspended for one calendar year and then have to apply for re-instatement.  For f@ck's sake, if we're going to suspend players for months for smoking weed, I don't see any other way.  Garrett should also get at least a couple of days in jail.

The Browns, Kitchens, and Wilkes, should also get heavily fined and a game.

110 I took my son to Auschwitz…

I took my son to Auschwitz last summer. It is horrifying and disturbing, unsettling. That doesn't even begin to describe the horror. Words fail. We were standing at a place where, not very long ago, the worst evil the world has ever known was carried out, banally, they say, people going about their jobs, torturing and murdering little children, women and men. 
The scale of it was immense, and this was only one of many such death camps. Terrified children, my son's age and younger, riding in cattle cars, clinging to their parents, asking them if they were going to be ok. Terrified parents, holding them, assuring them that they would be ok. And then the train stopped, and they were herded out. Children and pregnant women, the weak and the sick, directed to the officer's left, told to disrobe, and enter the 'showers', where they were gassed to death, choking, desperately clawing at the walls, seven hundred at a time. Little children.
That is the reality.
When someone equates criticism of their favorite sports team with the holocaust, they have lost all perspective. 
I don't know if this guy is just a neo-nazi troll, or mentally disturbed, or just young and stupid. Go to Auschwitz. If you can't afford to go to Poland, go to the Holocaust museum in Washington DC. There are people alive today who survived the camps. Go talk to them. 
Get some perspective. 

116 When someone equates…

When someone equates criticism of their favorite sports team with the holocaust, they have lost all perspective.

Dude, you're the one who did this.  Neither the Holocaust or Nazis are mentioned in this thread until your post.

117 Dude, reel it in.  I never…

Dude, reel it in.  I never called, or compared you to, a Nazi.  I refuse to compare sporting competitions to war, let alone atrocities.  What I said was that your usual comments could be construed as anti-semitic, not you.  I sincerely apologize if you inferred otherwise.  Nor is it true that I stalk you -- I made it my policy to ignore you several years ago, and if FO had the ability for users to ignore other users, I'd have done it by now.  I simply couldn't resist taking the shot in this case.  I will going forward.

The fact is, over the past two years or so, you've polluted many threads with the outlandish statement that the NFL fixes games in the Patriots favor because they're influenced by Sheldon Adelson and Robert Kraft and some shadowy Jewish mafia conspiracy.  No evidence whatsoever, other than the two know each other and are both Jewish and that the Patriots win a lot.  Is it ridiculous that someone would read anti-Semitism in that statement?  I believe other readers did exactly that on more than one of those threads.

My point is that if the NFL were fixing games for the Patriots, there are much easier ways of accomplishing it than repeatedly removing draft picks and suspending their best player on, at best, dubious grounds.  If the league were fixing games for the Patriots, they would have given them a warning, or at least a non-Draconian penalty for a first time offense, about filming signals from the sidelines -- in fact, the Broncos, who got caught after the Patriots, got a significantly lesser penalty.  If the league were fixing games for the Patriots, they would have said that the psi tests were inconclusive and let Brady go with a fine -- Remember, Brady wasn't suspended until after his appeal hearing when new evidence was introduced -- as far as I know, in the history of appeals, never has a separate charge and discipline been introduced and applied during the hearing.  It would have been very easy -- and most would say appropriate -- for the NFL to lessen or waive the punishment if the NFL were truly interested in the Patriots winning championships.

Anyway, you have my apology, and I vow to re-install my policy of non-response.  My apologies to FO staff and readers for the pollution.

170 Thank you very much for the…

Thank you very much for the clarification. It was the 'antisemitic rant', which to me, refers specifically to Adolph Hitler, that bothered me so much. I can't overstate how horrific Auschwitz is, and what an impact it has on one's perception of human nature.
To clarify my argument:
1) I do not think that the NFL fixes games for the Patriots;
2) I think that the NFL, in addition to every other money making sport in the world in which gambling is involved, is impacted by the manipulations of the gangsters that control gambling.
3) Sheldon Adelson is perhaps the most powerful gambling gangster boss in the world, so much so, that the NFL refused to, at least publicly, allow him to have anything to do with the Raiders in Las Vegas.
4) Robert Kraft and Sheldon Adelson describe themselves as great personal friends. 
5) Robert Kraft's wealth comprises significantly in the value of the Patriot franchise.
6) The perception is that the Patriots have benefited from a long series of otherwise inexplicable calls in pivotal situations in pivotal games.

I have citations to each of the above, but it is fair to have a debate over each of those points. If any of the above is shown to be wrong, or that my argument is illogical, I'll change my mind and apologize.
I do not think it is fair, however, to hold that any of those points are antisemitic. 
Thanks for clarifying above. I reacted poorly to what I apparently incorrectly perceived to being associated with Hitler and the Holocaust because of my position on the New England Patriots. 

36 Garrett should get a long…

Garrett should get a long suspension.

Pouncey should get suspended.

Rudolph should've been ejected along with Garrett, Pouncey, and Ogunjobi, and maybe should be suspended too.

David DeCastro, Matt Feiler, and Chris Smith all kept their heads and acted responsibly.

42 Absolutely that those…

Absolutely that those players should be ejected and Garrett should face suspension. Rudolph should have been ejected as well and I was surprised that he wasn't. Not sure about suspension for him or the others for ordinary fighting, although I imagine there will be some short suspensions for some people there. 

63 Rudolph was the initiator of…

Rudolph was the initiator of the fight, trying to remove the helmet of Garrett.

Garrett over-responded to the attack, and did the most blatant action.

Pouncey over-responded to Garrett attacking Rudolph.


I think suspensions will be something like: 

Garrett: season (theoretically even the playoff)

Pouncey: six weeks (all the regular season)

Rudolph: 2-3 weeks (so he can avoid the rematch)


But Goodell can find a way to screw this in many ways. 


72 I'm guessing

Garrett is suspended for the rest of the season.  6 games is a good number, and, OTOH, the NFL will want this to go away by next September.

Pouncey will be suspended for 1 or 2 games.  Throwing a punch is a 1-game suspension unless there is prior history.  Pouncey also let some kicks fly, and that might increase the punishment.

Rudolph may be fined for instigating, but he won't be suspended.  

Also: the Browns defender who was ejected for the helmet-to-helmet hit earlier in the game will also be suspended.  

73 NFL just announced Garrett…

In reply to by RickD

NFL just announced Garrett is done for the season, minimum.

Pouncey gets 3.

Ogunjobi gets 1.


I thought Pouncey would get two, but the rest seems about right.

76 I was also expecting 2 games…

I was also expecting 2 games for Pouncey, but 3's in the right ballpark.  I'm guessing the league wanted to send a clear message to leave the discipline to us and not make things worse by retaliating.

Rudolph's not off the hook, yet.  The NFL said it will review his behaviour for a possible fine, which I'm sure will be coming.  I suspect the delay is  related to the optics of fining a guy who got smacked in the head with his own helmet and then immediately bowled over by another opponent while just standing there.  Get those infractions against him out of the way and send a message about retaliation, then send a quieter message later about his own inappropriate behaviour prior to those things happening.

84 From what I can tell, it…

From what I can tell, it starts with Rudolph grabbing at Garrett's helmet while they're on the ground. Garrett escalates by picking Rudolph up by the facemask and ripping the helmet off while DeCastro and Feiler separate them. Rudolph then charges at Garrett after they've been separated, which is when Garrett swings the helmet at him. Then Pouncey comes in swinging, and Ogunjobi cheap shots Rudolph. 

Garrett is clearly the most culpable, followed by Pouncey, but Rudolph was hardly an innocent bystander in all of that. What's hilarious is watching Rudolph immediately turn and signal the ref after Garrett swings the helmet. 

89 There was a borderline late…

There was a borderline late-hit/illegal takedown that started it all.

Had this ended at Rudolph facemasks Garrett and Garrett rips his helmet off, and Rudolph gets in his face, we're probably looking at offsetting personal fouls and a fine for each.

But boy, once he used Rudolph's helmet as a warhammer, clownshoes broke out.

92 I really don't see how this…

I really don't see how this hit is even borderline late. Here's the screencap I took Garrett is face to face with Rudolph while Rudolph still has the ball in his hand. I'm not sure why Rudolph took exception to the tackle or why he tried to pull off Garrett's helmet while they were on the ground, but Garrett's response was obviously beyond the pale. Still, I don't like that this is being framed as "Myles Garrett took Mason Rudolph's head off, then tried to murder him after the play was dead."


97 "Still, I don't like that…

"Still, I don't like that this is being framed as "Myles Garrett took Mason Rudolph's head off, then tried to murder him after the play was dead.""

You may not like it framed that way, but that's exactly what happened.  How would you prefer it be framed?  "Rudolph pissed him off so Myles Garrett took Mason Rudolph's head off, then tried to murder him after the play was dead"?

101 By "took his head off" I…

By "took his head off" I mean what Damarious Randall did to Diontae Johnson earlier in the game: a dirty hit that was nevertheless a football play. I've watched the replay repeatedly and I cannot see what Garrett did wrong on the near-sack of Rudolph, at least in terms of how those plays have been called this season. Everything that happened after, I agree, was dirty, though as a matter of professional responsibility I would not call it attempted murder.

103 Fair enough.  Though both…

Fair enough.  Though both Garrett and Rudolph are lucky the blow to the head with the helmet didn't do nearly as much damage as it could have, or we'd likely at least be in the criminal range.

I do agree the head shot hit on Johnson was every bit as problematic as Garrett's assault.  The man was left bleeding from his ear and who knows what sort of permanent damage he's suffered?  That stuff's proving even harder to get out the game, it seems, and is far more likely to be replicated on Sunday than Garrett's behaviour.

104 I'm sorry, there is a big…

I'm sorry, there is a big big difference between the two acts. I don't know what was in Randal's head, but i doubt his thinking was to try and bludgeon the dude into oblivion. At the very least, the receiver has a helmet and Randal is trying to play defense. Sometimes circumstances are important.


Myles, as much as I like him as a person, made a reprehensible blunder that cannot be overstated. That legitimately could have killed Mason Rudolf. I've heard countless players echo the same thing...once a person's helmet comes off, everyone recognizes how fraught the situation is.  

50 Yeah, everyone is …

Yeah, everyone is (rightfully) going nuts over Garrett, but he was hardly the only one involved. Pouncey in particular laid a pretty egregious kick to the head way before the helmet came off.

Of course, Goodell being Goodell, I expect Garrett to be scapegoated. Don't get me wrong - he should absolutely be losing the rest of the season at least - but he's not the only one who needs to pay a heavy price. 

54 Think you mixed up the time…

Think you mixed up the time line, there.  Pouncey wasn't involved until after Garrett swung the helmet over DeCastro and corked Rudolph.  Then Pouncey lost it and jumped in.  He tried swinging at Garrett but DeCastro got Garrett down on the ground and laid on him.  Whether on purpose or not, that protected Garrett from Pouncey.  Then Pouncey came around and tried to kick Garrett in the (helmeted) head.  Didn't land as another Browns player got in the way and Pouncey ended up kicking the back of his leg instead, but the intention was pretty clear.

Anyway, I agree Pouncey deserves a suspension, but Garrett's was by far the most egregious act and precipitated the whole thing.  

67 While the play was going on,…

While the play was going on, Garrett picked up Rudolph and flung him to the ground.  Rudolph objected to the violence of the tackle and while they were both on the ground, got his hand into Garrett's facemask.

I haven't seen that part of the replay again today.  Last night, it looked to me like Rudolph's hand got stuck in Garrett's mask while trying to give Garrett a shove while they were both on the ground, but it may have been more than that.  Either way, Rudolph's hand was eventually free of Garrett's helmet, but by now Garrett had hold of Rudolph's helmet and pulled him up from the ground by the helmet, wrenching it off of Rudolph's head as they were both standing up.

There was a Steelers' lineman there, too.  I thought it was De Castro and I don't think he was involved other than trying to get between Garrett and Rudolph as they all stood up.  But I could be wrong about that as I haven't seen that part of the incident replayed today.

99 I hear you.  When Garrett…

I hear you.  When Garrett swung the helmet, I was so incensed I was right there with Pouncey.

But the league is right.  You can't have guys going vigilante on the field.  The threat was over (DeCastro's pancake flattening of Garrett solved that), and Pouncey was just going to make it worse.

The guy who looks best in this whole sorry mess is DeCastro.  Without him, I'm not sure what might have happened. 

111 You were confused about the…

You were confused about the timing because, live, the camera followed the completed pass, and then panned back to show Pouncey kicking at Garrett's head. It then replayed back what had happened between the time Randolph threw the ball and Pouncey started kicking. 
I think everyone watching it live was confused by the timeline at first.

47 The Steelers/Bengals …

The Steelers/Bengals 'rivalry' was a stain on the NFL in recent seasons. Seems the Browns have taken up the mantle now that the Bengals are tanking.

Beyond the unsavory nature of the acts, it is especially senseless to be brawling at the fag-end of a game in which you have won comfortably and shut-down the opposition. Stupidity and indiscipline on an aggressive scale.

80 Wow I've never seen anything…

Wow I've never seen anything like that. Garrett got soooo insanely lucky that the helmet landed the way it did. There are universes where the crown crushes Mason in the forehead and we are having a very different conversation. He might have been in handcuffs had that occurred.


I know he's been suspended indefinitely, but I'm not sure what the right punishment for this is. Honestly, if he received an Adam Silver lifetime ban I wouldn't be outraged.


Also what the hell Ogunjobe??? Shoving a helmetless qb to the ground from behind...why??? That's just going to encourage people to take cheap shots at Baker

87 I expect Pouncey to have his…

I expect Pouncey to have his reduced to two games, which is still pretty stiff for retaliation of something that egregious. I don't understand the fine for the Steelers of $250,000, the same as the Browns.

I also don't understand this concept that Mason did anything remotely out of the ordinary. He was tackled and thrown down well after he released the ball. That should have been a roughing the passer right there, but the idiot ref was letting it slide. Randolph did nothing that most quarterbacks haven't done after unnecessary plays like that. At absolute worst, it's a flag on Randolph.
Claiming that he should be ejected, suspended or fined is ridiculous.

93 He was tackled right as he…

He was tackled right as he released the ball. The ball is still in his hand when Garrett is no more than a foot away from him and running full speed because he came unblocked. Obviously doesn't excuse what Garrett did after he took Rudolph to the ground, but Rudolph also clearly gets his hand in Garrett's facemask while they're on the ground.

96 Rudolph tried to rip Garrett…

Rudolph tried to rip Garrett's helmet off as they lay on the ground.  Aggressively, and in a manner that could have injured Garrett.

Garrett then rips off Rudolph's helmet in retaliation.  Then two Steelers try to separate Garrett from Rudolph, but Rudolph runs back up to Garrett and starts shoving and throwing a punch at Garrett.  Garrett then retaliates with attempted murder.

Still, Rudolph clearly initiated the event, and did so in a manner that was worth an ejection and a fine, if not a suspension.  He then escalated the situation by retaliating for having his helmet ripped off and attacked a player that was being restrained by his teammates.  Had he walked away at that point, this is a simple personal foul and maybe an ejection for Garrett and a fine, nothing more.  Rudolph escalated it will illegal and aggressive behavior.

By not suspending Rudolph, the NFL has essentially said "it's OK to break the rules and attack players, as long as you get them to retaliate and do worse things than you did".


100 Rudolph should be fined for…

Rudolph should be fined for the instigation with Garrett when they were both on the ground, but there was nothing there, in my opinion, to put Garrett in any danger and it wasn't worthy of anything more than a fine.

Afterwards, I didn't see Rudolph attacking Garrett.  I saw him yelling at Garrett while DeCastro was separating them.  If Rudolph tried to physically attack Garrett, I completely missed that.  Players yelling at each other during an altercation is pretty common.  Nothing suspendable about that, either.

118 <i>Rudolph tried to rip…

Rudolph tried to rip Garrett's helmet off as they lay on the ground.  Aggressively, and in a manner that could have injured Garrett.

No he didn't. There was no way Rudolph was going to get Garrett's helmet off, especially on his back and with no leverage. He scrabbled at the edge of the helmet in a completely ineffectual way that could never have caused the slightest injury to Garrett.

90 Football is a violent game

It is supposed to be controlled violence though. So the circumstances here are unacceptable. Garrett should not be allowed to play the game. One of two conditions would seem to exist here. He deliberately, with malice, set out to injure another player or he lost control in the heat of the moment. If he is truly evil that would be unfortunate but I would assume the second condition is more likely. But it raises the question “does it matter”? The answer, for me at least, is no. Given his physical “gifts” and the nature of the game further opportunities for this are inevitable.

As to the culpability of the Browns in this matter while their talent is undeniable their discipline has been nonexistent on either a team or individual level. Rather akin to the NCAA finding of lack of institutional control.

95 Punishments

I would give Garrett at least 8 games (shutting him down for the remainder of this season is a good start), but probably would tend towards a total of 16 games (the equivalent of a whole season). But I'd be OK with anything up to and including a lifetime ban and pressing criminal assault charges. That was assault with a deadly weapon, arguably attempted murder, and there's no excuse for it.

But we can't stop there. Pouncey needs at least a 4 game suspension, and Ogunjobe at least a hefty fine or possibly a 1 game suspension. Otherwise, the NFL sends a message that once someone does something egregiously bad, you are free to retaliate as long as you don't do something even worse. I don't care if Garrett literally tried to kill Rudolp--you still can't allow a guy to beat and kick him in the head afterwards while your teammate holds him down. An Ogunjobe's shot was just a cheap shot and was completely uncalled for.

This is sure to be a less popular opinion, but I'd also suspend Rudolph for a game or two. He did "start" it--on replay you can clearly see him trying to rip Garrett's helmet off, and what prompted Garrett to do the kill shot was Rudolph running at him after they had already been separated. If you don't punish Rudolph, you're sending the message that players can get away with pulling stuff like that as long as the provoke their opponent into doing something even worse.

105 I can't find it now, but I…

I can't find it now, but I saw on twitter a thread by a guy who was a teammate of Pouncey's in Miami. He had a story about *Pouncey* ripping off his helmet in practice and trying to swing it at him. Does anybody remember who tweeted that?

107 Maurkice Pouncey, the…

Maurkice Pouncey, the Steelers center who was suspended for punching and kicking Garrett, didn't play in Miami (I'm pretty sure he was drafted by Pittsburgh and played his whole career there). However, he does have an identical twin brother named Mike who did play for Miami and IIRC, was involved in the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito bullying scandal. I think he plays for the Chargers now.

109 Rudolph didn't start $&*%

One recurring comment I've seen running through both this thread and elsewhere on the internet is the "Rudolph started it when he went to rip Garrets helmet off" argument. This is absolute garbage. Here's a video of the event.

Skip to 1:25 for the best breakdown of it.

This starts with Garret hitting Rudolph just a split second after the ball is released. This is fine. However, he then wraps Rudolph's arms and slowly wrestles him to the ground making sure that Rudolph's head bounces off the field. This despite the fact that it is clear as day that Rudolph no longer has the ball. Then he stands over Rudolph pinning him to the ground as he tries to get up, at which point Rudolph then starts to claw at the back of Garrett's helmet.

Then Garrett grabs Rudolph by the facemask, yanks his head around a bunch, and then finally pulls his helmet off. I don't know why I'm supposed to pretend that this wasn't 100% instigated by Garrett. Go and watch that hit again, and tell me that's not an extremely suspicious/weird looking hit on Rudolph. I don't care about the initiation of the contact, I care about the dirty finish to that hit.

So to recap, we have intent to injure on Garrett for the hit, pinning Rudolph's arm to his side and then intentionally dumping him to the ground on that side. Intent to injure on Garrett for yanking Rudolph's head violently around by the facemask. Then again intent to injure and in fact assault with a weapon on Garrett swinging Rudolph's helmet at his head.

But did you see what Rudolph was wearing. #askingForIt

115 So I'm a big Steelers homer,…

So I'm a big Steelers homer, and I absolutely think Rudolph was part instigator in this. Watching the video you posted, Garrett hits Rudolph at ~1:28, with his face buried in Rudolph's chest... he wrestles him to the ground because he can't see or assume that the ball is out. And yeah, it's takes a little while to get him on the ground, turning him to do it... and at ~1:30, just after hitting the ground, Rudolph is already pissed and pulling an pushing on Garrett's helmet.

Garrett, IMO, was just finishing the tackle. If Rudolph had held the ball, it would have been a normal tackle. My contention is that Garrett couldn't know for sure that Rudolph had gotten rid of the ball, so the tackle was fine. If there hadn't been an incident, would Garrett have been flagged? 

Garrett's reaction to Rudolph's actions was crazy. But it's not like Rudolph was just laying there and got assaulted. 

167 Go watch that video again…

Go watch that video again. Hit the 0.25 playback speed button if you want. You'll see that Garrett is unblocked due to an obvious screen pass. On top of that, his head is up as Rudolph releases the ball. There is absolutely no way that Garrett does not understand that Rudolph no longer has the ball. On top of that Garrett doesn't simply overpower a much smaller man in Rudolph, he pins his left arm down, then spins his body underneath ensuring that Rudolph has no way of bracing his body for the fall, so he will hit his head hard against the ground.

That was 100% a dirty hit.

114 Looking at it all again, I…

Looking at it all again, I am struck by two things.
Ogunjobi's gratuitous and cowardly hit from behind on Mason Rudolph in a situation already out of control should be worthy of more than one week suspension.
Clete Blakemon is an awful, awful ref, but especially bad with allowing excessive violence in his games. I was watching the Garrett assault in slow motion and was trying to keep track of all the penalties that occurred on that play before Blakeman finally got around to throwing a flag. It wasn't the illegal hit, when Garrett threw Rudolph onto his head, it wasn't the wrestling on the ground, it wasn't when Garrett pulled Rudolph up from the ground by his facemask, it wasn't until the helmet was fully off that Clete Blakeman finally decided to throw the flag.
I remember him from Super Bowl 50, when he let the Denver Broncos get away with murder. He is not on the same page as the NFL on reducing unnecessary violence in the game.
Why would the NFL have Clete Blackmon ref a game between the Browns and Steelers, unless they wanted more violence to spice up the Thursday night game?
Clete Blakemon should also be held accountable for letting the game devolve to that point. It wasn't just Garrett's play that crossed the line. It was a game filled with unnecessary head hunting that left three Steelers with concussions, including one bleeding from the ear, that the refs, Clete Blakemon, failed to control.

119 Man, this week's slate of…

Man, this week's slate of games kind of sucks. DAL-DET would have been promising if Stafford were still in, as I think the Lions were way better than their record. I've got DEN-MIN as the other early game. NE-PHI will be interesting to watch, but Bears-Rams in prime time seems like a train wreck in the making.

121 Rest of picks

Jets 23, Squirrels 13
Cowboys 31, Loins 13
Saimts 40, buca 30
Pantherd 24, falcs 23
Clots 24, Jagyard 17
Bikinga 27, Brincos 15
Billa 27, Dolphins 23
Ravens 28, texans 25
Tiger-Cats 45, Eskimos 38
49ers 30, Cardainls 27
Raiders 48, Bengals 3
Blue Bombers 37, Roughriders 31
Eagles 20, Pates 17
Rams 17, bears 10
Chiefs 41, chargwrs 27

124 Wow. Lions have the ball at…

Wow. Lions have the ball at midfield, down by 6 on 4th and 3. They line up in a punt formation, then shift for a fake... and nobody is fooled. Dallas is ready for it, and then... they promptly jump across the line of scrimmage for a neutral zone infraction and a first down. That is terrible. There is no excuse for that.

In the other game, I'm rather impressed with the coaching from Minnesota. Down 20 points, they open the 2nd half in the no-huddle and score. The defense gives up a field goal, so down 16 points, they stick with the no-huddle and convert two 4th down conversions to keep the drive alive. The odds are still against them winning this game, but I respect the heck out of Zimmer for recognizing the need to take chances this late.

ETA: so, the offsides by Dallas ends up meaningless, as the Lions then have three straight incomplete passes and punt it away from pretty much the exact same spot.

126 I think Fangio's defense is…

I think Fangio's defense is really starting to come together. The first few weeks of the season were really rough because he didn't seem to have a grasp on his personnel. But former no-names Alexander Johnson at LB, Mike Purcell at DT, and DeVante's Harris and Bausby at CB have all been playing very well. I blame Fangio's decision to start Yiadom at CB to begin the year for the Raiders loss and most of the Bears loss.

The Vikings have been making a lot of mistakes today, some unforced, but I think a lot of them have been forced by the defense.

127 Funny moment in the Den-Min…

Funny moment in the Den-Min booth: Rich Gannon made a math mistake and criticized the Vikings for attempting a 2-pt conv. After commercial, he brought it up again to admit his mistake, then blamed it on how much he had to drink at halftime. Harlan smoothly deflected, saying nah it was the massive amount of chicken wings you ate at halftime. A true professional, Harlan.

129 Nick foles throws…

Nick foles throws consecutive passes that lose 8 yards and 4 yards respectively.

130 Did Foles get sacked for -64…

Did Foles get sacked for -64 yards?

Or is my online feed going whacky?

And NOW ESPN's gamecast has erased the above zaniness, but indicated that Indy led 31-13... no intervening plays, and then a final score of 33-13, suggesting rather strongly that Colts got a safety.  

WTF is going on with this online "real time" data?  Both and ESPN.  I blame Putin.

160 Thanks

Thanks, gents.

What was particularly odd about the mistakes is that they built about four or five plays logically on top of one another, as if intentionally.  Jax got a 72-yard pass down to the Colts 10, then a nothing play, then a -64 yard sack (I pictured insane scrambling followed by a rolling fumble recovered by the Jags), and then a couple more plays.  All purely imaginary.  One or two wrong, I can see, but five?  Anyhoo....

As for the pick-2, I can see how that doesn't really fit any category and I should have suspected it--more logical than a safety, coming shortly after a Jags TD.  Nice play for the Stanford rookie.

131 There was a discussion in an…

There was a discussion in an XP about how a defender has to fight through a hold to "show the hold" for it to be a penalty. Anthony Barr just did a bit of acting, to show a hold that wasn't a hold. Cynical tactic, but it worked. I'm surprised this is the first time I've seen that.

134 Heartbreaking loss for the…

Heartbreaking loss for the Broncos. Fangio wasted a timeout challenging an uncalled pass interference right before the 2-minute warning that was never going to be overturned. They then drove inside the 10 looking to score the winning TD in the final seconds, but ran out of time. They wasted 20 seconds after a 4th down conversion, that extra timeout would have been insanely valuable to have.

They played really well today, but the Vikings are a good team too.

135 I really hope Bill Vinovich…

I really hope Bill Vinovich finds his missing contact lenses. He's doing a pretty good job for someone who's vision is clearly impaired.

136 What the devil is going on…

What the devil is going on with the Falcons? Suck the first half of the season, then back to back shutdowns of the Saints and Panthers on the road? Were the boos at Mercedes-Benz Field too loud for them?

156 The devil went down to Georgia...

and told Dan Quinn that he couldn't HC and DC at the same time.  Or maybe he told Dan Quinn that he couldn't head coach his way out of a paper bag and Dan decided to take him up on the challenge.

Seriously, Raheem Morris was moved from WR coach to secondary coach and Jeff Ullbrich became ex-officio defensive coordinator.  Apparently Ullbrich and Morris split the defensive signal calling based on down and distance?

Also, a couple of secondary changes...Damontee Kazee from nickel CB to FS, giving Kendall Sheffield more time at CB.

142 It appears as if Vinovich…

It appears as if Vinovich wasn't able to find his contact lenses by game's end. Maybe we should set up a GoFundMe page for him?