Guest of the League
Flacco over Brady Est. 2018
FFL: Week 14 | NFL: Week 14

Tomlin: Brawl vs. Browns “ugly for the game of football�?

Tue Nov 19 4:22pm ET
By WILL GRAVES
AP Sports Writer

Players: James Conner, Mason Rudolph, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kerrith Whyte Jr., Deon Cain, Benny Snell Jr.

Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin watches during the first half of the team's NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


PITTSBURGH (AP) Steelers coach Mike Tomlin accepted his team’s role in the now-infamous fight last Thursday night that ended with Cleveland defensive end Myles Garrett hitting Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph in the head with Rudolph’s own helmet.

Just don’t expect Tomlin to use the video of a brawl he called “ugly for the game of football” as a teachable moment. He doesn’t think one is required.

“I don't know that we did anything to make it happen in the first place,” Tomlin said Tuesday. “That's why I said we didn't have anything to learn from it."

Garrett and Rudolph became tangled up after Garrett took Rudolph to the ground shortly after the quarterback let go of a pass in the final seconds of Cleveland’s 21-7 win.

In the chaos that ensued, Rudolph grabbed the back of Garrett’s helmet and pulled. Garrett responded by snatching Rudolph’s facemask and ripping Rudolph’s helmet off. Steelers guard David DeCastro attempted to intervene, pushing Garrett away. Rudolph gave chase and Garrett swung Rudolph’s helmet, connecting with Rudolph’s head in the process.

“All of us that are involved in the game, particularly at this level, want to safeguard and protect the game, it’s integrity,” Tomlin said. “And in that instance, it was compromised, obviously with an unfortunate incident. None of us want those things to transpire. It did. We were a part of it. We accept responsibility of our actions within it."

Garrett received an indefinite suspension from the NFL, which also fined both teams $250,000. Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey earned a three-game ban for punching and kicking at Garrett in the aftermath and Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi was suspended one game for knocking down Rudolph from behind.

All three players are appealing the respective rulings and with the AFC North rivals meeting again in less than two weeks, the debate over who’s to blame for what isn’t likely to die down anytime soon.

Outside of owning up to his team’s actions and hinting the Browns started it, Tomlin declined to get into detail, saying only “we have some people going through appeals and so forth, I don't want to jeopardize that in any way."

More pressing for Tomlin than trying to assess blame is finding a way to get Pittsburgh (5-5) back on track following its worst performance since a season-opening 30-point loss to New England.

While the outside world fixated on the unprecedented punishment handed out by the league, Tomlin was more focused on the 59 minutes and 52 seconds that came before things got out of hand. Long before Garrett and Rudolph went at it, the Browns had beat up and beaten down the Steelers.

“It's easy to seek comfort in that sidebar distraction and not talk about what really needs to be talked about from our perspective, is that we played a losing football game,” Tomlin said. “We didn't execute well enough in all three phases to secure victory."

Pittsburgh will try to stay in the playoff mix on Sunday at winless Cincinnati (0-10) but will likely do it without Pouncey, wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and running back James Conner. The odds of Pouncey’s suspension being lifted completely are slim. Smith-Schuster is dealing with a concussion and Conner aggravated the shoulder injury that forced him to miss two games last month.

Rookie running back Benny Snell Jr. could return after missing a month with a knee injury, but even if he’s able to play Pittsburgh’s skill position group remains a mish-mash of players, most of whom began the season far down the depth chart either with the Steelers or elsewhere. Pittsburgh signed rookie wide receiver Deon Cain and rookie running back Kerrith Whyte Jr. - both practice squad players with other teams - to the 53-man roster earlier this week. There’s a chance one or both could be on the field Sunday.

“The bottom line is our jobs is to win games regardless of circumstance and so that's our focus,” Tomlin said. “I really don't spend a lot of time crying over who's available or who's not available. It's as much a part of the game as blocking and tackling. If you're a competitor like we as coaches are competitors, that fires you up. You want to smile in the face of adversity and deliver and so that's our focus."

Player Notes
Andy Dalton Dec 7 5:50am ET

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton made his return to the lineup against the Jets after a three-game absence and played relatively well, throwing for 243 yards and a touchdown on 23-for-37 passing. While the Browns Defense isn't horrible, Dalton has played historically well against them throughout his career, making his outlook more promising than usual, especially with John Ross (chest) back in the lineup. If you need a quarterback with a solid upside in Week 14, Dalton could be your guy.

From RotoBaller

Curtis Samuel Dec 7 5:40am ET

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Curtis Samuel will look to build off of the efficient showing that he had against the Redskins. After struggling against the Saints in Week 12, Samuel got his act together in Week 13 by finishing with four catches for 65 yards and a score against Washington. While that wasn't the most brilliant fantasy performance that we've seen out of the 23-year-old, he has the potential to score on any given week. With Greg Olsen (concussion) out against Atlanta, look for Samuel to get some extra attention from Kyle Allen, making him a decent option in deeper formats.

From RotoBaller

D.J. Moore Dec 7 4:10am ET

Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore has been one of the most productive fantasy options as of late and will look to keep things moving against Atlanta on Sunday. After recording just one touchdown throughout his first 10 games of the season, Moore has three over the last two weeks. He hasn't been targeted less than eight times in each of his previous eight games and should retain his must-start status in all fantasy formats in Week 14.

From RotoBaller

Christian McCaffrey Dec 7 4:00am ET

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey had arguably the worst performance of the season, at least as a runner, against the Redskins in Week 13. While he had a favorable matchup against one of the league's worst defenses, the 23-year-old had just 44 yards on 14 attempts to go along with an acceptable seven catches for 58 yards. That game marked only the third time all season that he failed to record a touchdown, but he should get back on track against Atlanta after playing well against them just a few weeks ago.

From RotoBaller

Kyle Allen Dec 7 3:50am ET

Carolina Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen has a difficult matchup on Sunday against the Falcons Defense. Atlanta has played well against opposing quarterbacks, especially as of late, and held Drees Brees to just one touchdown toss during the Thanksgiving matchup with New Orleans, while also forcing Allen to throw four picks just a few weeks ago. The 23-year-old is a different player than what we saw after he initially took over for Cam Newton (foot) earlier in the year, and should remain out of starting lineups across the board in Week 14.

From RotoBaller

Green Bay Packers Dec 7 12:10am ET

The Green Bay Packers Defense gets a juicy Week 14 matchup against rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins and the Washington Redskins. For the season, Washington ranks in the bottom-10 of the league in points scored, sacks allowed, and interceptions thrown. Haskins has been sacked 14 times in the last three games combined. Green Bay ranks in the bottom-10 of the league in QB pressures but should have no trouble against Washington's offensive line.

From RotoBaller

Mason Crosby Dec 6 11:50pm ET

Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby will face the Washington Redskins in Week 14. The 35-year-old ranks 17th in fantasy points scored by kickers and only 26th in field goal attempts. Crosby has been money on extra points this year, sporting a 33 of 33 mark. He should have a chance to bolster these numbers against a Redskins team that allows 24.2 points per game, 21st in the NFL. Crosby should be able to nail at least a field goal and three extra points against Washington.

From RotoBaller

Jimmy Garoppolo Dec 6 11:40pm ET

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is a middling QB2 in Week 14 against the New Orleans Saints. With a 101.2 quarterback rating, Garoppolos season-long body of work looks great but hes surpassed 300 yards just twice and committed 14 total turnovers. Facing a challenging Saints Defense on the road, Garoppolo will likely be tasked to pace with the Saints but will have his healthiest receiving corps in weeks. In a potential shootout, Jimmy G may have upside, but his volatile results dont render him a trustworthy fantasy quarterback in the vital playoff weeks.

From RotoBaller

Jimmy Graham Dec 6 11:30pm ET

Green Bay Packers tight end Jimmy Graham gets a good matchup against the Washington Redskins. Unfortunately, it doesn't matter because the 32-year-old has seen a steady decline in snaps over the last three weeks. Graham even had a touchdown snatched away from him by backup tight end Mercedes Lewis. There's also the fact that he's registered only one catch in back-to-back games. Even the neediest of tight end needy fantasy owners should stay away from Graham this week.

From RotoBaller

Allen Lazard Dec 6 11:10pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard will take on the Washington Redskins in Week 14. The rookie had a career-high 103 receiving yards against the Giants last week. Lazard has out-snapped fellow receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling in three consecutive games. Unfortunately, that role hasn't lent a ton of volume, as his season-high for targets is six. Still, Aaron Rodgers seems to trust him- and he doesn't throw trust around lightly. It's worth noting that each of his three catches from last week went for 20-plus yards, giving him a boom-or-bust outlook. It's best to avoid Lazard this week.

From RotoBaller

Davante Adams Dec 6 10:40pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams gets a Week 14 matchup with the Washington Redskins. Adams is on a hot streak, with at least seven catches in four straight games and three touchdowns in his last two contests combined. He's been the Packers' undisputed number-one pass catcher this year, with 79 targets in eight games- the next closest is Aaron Jones with 52 in 12 games. That kind of volume makes him a must-start every week and especially against Washington. Like the Giants, the Redskins don't have anyone who can slow Adams down. Start him as a high-end WR1 this week.

From RotoBaller

George Kittle Dec 6 10:30pm ET

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (ankle) needs no introduction for Week 14s matchup against the New Orleans Saints. Pro Football Focus highest-graded tight end since 2006 will be a premium TE1 against a battered Saints linebacking corps on Sunday. Kittle was muted in Week 13s rainy contest but should reemerge as the focal point in the Niners aerial attack in the dome. Despite missing two games and hobbled by a lingering ankle injury, Kittle leads Niners pass-catchers in all relevant metrics and should be treated accordingly this weekend.

From RotoBaller

Tevin Coleman Dec 6 10:20pm ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Tevin Coleman needs to prove his worth in Week 14 against the New Orleans Saints. Coleman helplessly watched backup Raheem Mostert notch 154 yards and a score in Week 13 as he managed just six touches for 15 yards. The de facto starter has struggled for six straight games, opening the door for a surging Mostert. With Matt Breida (ankle) also expected back in the mix, Coleman is a volatile RB3 against a tough Saints rush defense. Ideally, Coleman is positioned for double-digit touches this Sunday but with the Niners not shy to leverage the hot hand, fantasy managers will hope he capitalizes on his shrinking opportunities.

From RotoBaller

Jamaal Williams Dec 6 9:50pm ET

Green Bay Packers running back Jamaal Williams (knee) draws a great matchup against the Washington Redskins in Week 14. Williams was limited in practice this week but will play on Sunday against the Redskins' 27th-ranked run defense. The 24-year-old has been on a roll, with at least 13 touches and 50 scrimmage yards in each of the last three games. Fellow back Aaron Jones is still "the guy" in Green Bay, though Williams' recent production guarantees him a role. The Redskins have allowed two backs to exceed 50 scrimmage yards five times this year. Jones and Williams are a good bet to make this the sixth time. Start Williams in the flex spot this week.

From RotoBaller

Brandin Cooks Dec 6 8:50pm ET

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Brandin Cooks has caught four passes for 56 yards in two games since returning from a concussion. He's still worth holding onto, but he can't be played against the Seattle Seahawks this week.

From RotoBaller

Greg Zuerlein Dec 6 8:50pm ET

Los Angeles Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein hasn't had a lot of opportunities lately. He's 6-for-8 in field goals and 7-for-7 in extra points the last four games. The Seattle Seahawks are a midrange matchup, and he's a sketchy low-end kicker this week.

From RotoBaller

Los Angeles Rams Dec 6 8:50pm ET

The Los Angeles Rams Defense has been stout of late with 15 sacks, two fumble recoveries, two picks, a safety and two touchdowns in the last four games. The Seattle Seahawks have allowed opposing defenses the most fantasy points over the last five weeks. They've surrendered two touchdowns, 16 sacks, six fumble recoveries and three picks in the last four games. The Rams Defense is a midrange option to start this week.

From RotoBaller

Aaron Donald Dec 6 8:50pm ET

Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald broke free for 1.5 sacks against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13. He now has sacks in six of the last seven games, and the Seattle Seahawks have allowed 16 in the last four. Donald won't offer much outside of that category, but he is a low-end DL1 option this week.

From RotoBaller

Jared Goff Dec 6 8:40pm ET

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff ended a three-game touchdown drought with 424 yards and two scores last week against the Arizona Cardinals. He'll have a tougher matchup against the Seattle Seahawks, but it's within reason to start him. He had 395 passing yards, one score and one pick against them earlier in the season. Goff is a feast-or-famine QB1 in Week 14.

From RotoBaller

Aaron Jones Dec 6 8:40pm ET

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones will face the Washington Redskins in Week 14. The 24-year-old has been hard to trust lately, as he's failed to score a touchdown or eclipse 50 scrimmage yards in three of his last four games. Jones may have been battling through a sore ankle against the New York Giants last week, which helps explain the poor performance. The good news for Jones is, he's healthy coming into a game against the league's 27th-ranked rushing defense. Add in the fact that last week, he saw the highest number of targets since his Week 8 explosion against Kansas City- and it's easy to see him breaking out this week. Keep the faith in Jones as an RB1 against Washington.

From RotoBaller