Like nearly everyone who has an interest in the NFL or even has access to social media, Dan Quinn and his team were very much aware of what transpired in the final seconds of Thursday night’s game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns.
On a third down with 14 seconds remaining in the game, Browns pass rusher Myles Garrett took Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph to the turf, where Rudolph then attempted to remove Garrett’s helmet in a scuffle. That scuffle escalated into a brawl after Garrett got to his feet and managed to rip Rudolph’s helmet off of his head. Rudolph confronted Garrett after the act, at which point the Browns defensive end swung and hit the Steelers quarterback in the head with his own helmet.
Quinn explained that the Falcons often use part of their day on Friday reviewing a variety of things that occur around the league, using them as teaching moments for the players. Although Quinn didn’t show his team that exact play involving Garrett and Rudolph, he said the team did discuss it, especially as they are in the midst of an NFC South stretch.
“We talked about division games, and they’re more heated for sure,” Quinn said. “Both teams know each other so well. The term we use sometimes is you’ve got to stare right into the face of temptation, and have that poise to do that at the end, even when it’s really hard.”
Those involved in the incident faced serious repercussions from the NFL on Friday. Both the Steelers and Browns organizations were fined $250,000, and three players were suspended for their actions.
Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi was suspended for one game after shoving a helmetless Rudolph to the ground during the skirmish. Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey was served a three-game suspension for punching and kicking Garrett during the fight. And Garrett, himself, has been suspended indefinitely and, at a minimum, will miss the remainder of the 2019 season and postseason.
“We try to use those as lessons whenever we can,” Quinn said. “That was a lesson for someone else we can apply to our own team.”