Watching the collapse of the Cincinnati Bengals on wild card weekend made me feel embarrassed to be a human being.
The game was chippy which is expected in the playoffs, but like I said in —— Odell Beckham Jr, there’s usually still a lot of respect. The officials might have been called into question for losing control of the game, except that the in game announcers and every media outlet since has been touting “this isn’t the fault of the officials” since before the game was half over.
Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict crossed the line in many ways, and to me was most of the reason the Bengals lost. He was involved in almost every after whistle scuffle, and went out of his way to be. There was never any composure on his part, and even though I had no clear favourite going into the game, I was actually getting more mad as the it went on and the Bengals held the lead.
Finally in the fourth quarter when the Steelers were on their second last drive, I realized I’d suddenly become the worst Steelers fan in probably the history of sports. When Big Ben went down with a shoulder injury I wasn’t feeling well. When Burfict made the interception off the backup with just a couple minutes left I was fuming, because of all people, here was this wild animal who’s been ruining the game all day, and he’s getting personally rewarded. Like Odell Beckham Jr, he’d forget all the bullshit he created and just remember that play as what he contributed to the game. When he caught the ball and kept running down the tunnel it was the best decision he’d made all day and I wish he’d kept going.
One thing I believe in though is the sports Gods, and the Football Gods had also had enough. Instead of Cincinnati running a few plays and killing the clock, the Gods caused a fumble.
Then in easily the best moment of the weekend, Big Ben walked onto the field like Wild Thing himself strolling onto the Reservation. No fanfare, no razzle dazzle, just a calm “look the fuck out” swagger.
Unfortunately, Burfict made his way back to the stadium too, and a few crucial plays later he needlessly executed a near decapitation of Steelers receiver Antonio Brown.
Video: The Fumble
I’ve never understood the rule where even if the ball is obviously not catchable, the receiver stretching out and upside down is still completely fair game. I don’t have an answer for changing it, but I’ve never liked it, and this ball was clearly not getting caught. Regardless, Adam Jones, the Bonnie to Burfict’s Clyde, showed zero concern for the injured player. He’s even said to the media vehemently that Brown was faking and winked at him. I actually secretly hope that’s true. The way these guys carried themselves is well beyond selfish. Let’s not forget, down 16-15, the Steelers have no time outs now and still need 15 yards to even have an attempt at a game winning field goal. Leave that to Bonnie and Clyde. Clyde got flagged 15 yards for the hit to the head and will probably be suspended. I can’t even pretend to look at that objectively and tell you if I think it was legal or not because I now hate the Bengals, their logo, their stadium, and possibly won’t even be able to enjoy WKRP anymore. Bonnie, not to be outdone, then got involved in a verbal altercation with Steelers assistant coach Joey Porter. I say got involved because again, there were probably 4 Bengals players pretty much rubbing shoulders with Porter, yet none of those guys with in easy reach felt compelled to slap him. Yet Bonnie Jones thought he needed to be the hero who stood up for himself. He comes out of nowhere and has to reach far enough over to barely punch Porter. He got dinged for 15 yards himself. In 30 seconds, Bonnie and Clyde have up 30 yards for being stupid and handed Pittsburgh a chip shot for the win. I almost started to question what business Porter had even being on the field where he was, but I don’t even care. I’d tell him to go again. The telling part of the video is that while Bonnie was so out of focus about what the moment meant to his team he hit an opposing coach, the Steelers player immediately beside his coach didn’t jump in to defend his honor. He jumped up and down in absolute glee because he saw the flag and knew the game was over(don’t tell Minnesota a chip shot is a guaranteed win). He had priorities.
Bonnie can cry all he wants to the media about the Steelers faking injuries and sending their coaches onto the field to force him into throwing a punch. I’m no longer listening.