CLEVELAND _ The Steelers not only lost a key AFC North game to the Browns, falling 21-7, they also saw five players leave the game with injuries including receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson and Ola Adeniyi with concussions, James Conner with a shoulder injury and Artie Burns with a knee injury.
Near the end of the game, with :08 seconds left, things unfortunately got ugly. Mason Rudolph completed a screen pass to running back Trey Edmunds. Following the play, a skirmish broke out when Myles Garrett pulled off Rudolph's helmet. Subsequent video replays show Garrett swinging the helmet and hitting Rudolph with it. Garrett was ejected, as was Larry Ogunjobi. Maurkice Pouncey was also ejected after coming to Rudolph's defense.
"I thought it was pretty cowardly, pretty bush league," said Rudolph. "There is plenty of tape out there to watch. Where did it cross the line? Maybe when he took my helmet off and used it as a weapon."
It was a tough night all around for the Steelers in the loss.
Rudolph's fourth interception of the night, picked off by Justin Burris at the Browns 22-yard line and returned 27 yards to the 49-yard with 4:03 to play, sealed any hope of a comeback for the Steelers. The Browns went back up by 14 points when Baker Mayfield hit Stephen Carlson in the end zone for an eight-yard touchdown with 5:25 to play, extending the Browns lead to 21-7. The touchdown was set up when Joe Schobert intercepted Mason Rudolph at the 24-yard line and returned it 20 yards to the four-yard line.
The Steelers cut into a 14-point halftime deficit with a five-play, 87-yard drive in 2:33 midway through the third quarter.
Wide receiver Diontae Johnson was lost to a concussion on the march (Browns safety Damarious Randall was ejected for a helmet-to-helmet hit) but quarterback Mason Rudolph was able to finish the drive with a 3-yard check-down to running back Jaylen Samuels on second-and-goal. Chris Boswell's extra point brought the Steelers to within 14-7 with 5:39 left in the third.
Browns kicker Austin Seibert missed a 50-yard field goal attempt on the final play of the quarter.
The Browns struck first the first time they got the ball.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield finished off a five-play, 65-yard drive in 2:12 with a 1-yard sneak for a touchdown. The big play was a 42-yard completion from Mayfield to wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to the Steelers' 1-yard line. The Browns converted a third-and-8 on the play prior to the Beckham reception when Mayfield hit running back Kareem Hunt for 20 yards and a first down. Kicker Austin Seibert's extra point made it 7-0 Browns with 11:07 left in the first.
Game action photos from the Steelers' Week 11 game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium
The Steelers missed an opportunity to cut into the Cleveland lead when they were unable to convert a 44-yard field goal with 7:50 left in the first.
The Browns made it 14-0 on a 1-yard touchdown pass from Mayfield to wide receiver Jarvis Landry with 9:55 left in the second. The Mayfield-to-Landry connection occurred one play after a Mayfield pass for wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge on third-and-goal from the Steelers' 7 fell incomplete in the end zone but cornerback Joe Haden was called for pass interference. The drive had been jump-started on a 41-yard completion from Mayfield to KhaDarel on second-and-10 from the Browns' 23.
Seibert missed a 45-yard field goal attempt with 2:31 left in the first half.
The Steelers lost cornerback Artie Burns (knee), running back James Conner (shoulder), wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (concussion) and outside linebacker Ola Adeniyi (concussion) during the first two quarters.
The Steelers possessed the ball for 16:13 in the first half but managed just seven first downs, including one conversion on seven attempts on third downs, and 104 total net yards on 33 offensive plays.