The Steelers-Bengals AFC Wild Card game made news more for the physical, ugly behaviour of both teams than the actual play.
The game saw the Bengals lose after they accumulated 30 yards in penalties in one possession, setting the Steelers up for a field goal to win 18-16 and advance in the playoffs.
Still, two days later, neither team is done chirping about the supposed dirty play of the other.
The incident began with the Steelers trying to march down the field in the final minute of the game. Ben Roethlisberger overthrew Antonio Brown, and as Brown landed, Bengals’ linebacker Vontaze Burfict landed an ugly helmet-to-helmet hit on Brown:
Burfict received a 15-yard penalty for the play.
As Brown stayed on the ground while being checked out by trainers, Steelers linebacker coach Joey Porter made his way onto the field. While there, he got into a scuffle with Bengals players, and as Adam “Pacman” Jones got involved, he got hit with a 15-yard penalty, moving the Steelers another 15 yards closer to the end zone.
As Peter King explained, Porter should have never been on the field, as he’s not a head coach or a trainer.
Jones later told NFL Network’s Mike Silver that Porter was taunting Burfict, saying:
“He ain’t supposed to be on the (expletive) field!” Jones said. “He was talking all kinds of (expletive), yelling at (Burfict), saying, ‘You a dirty son of a b**** … Take your b**** a** out of here …’ So I turned to him and said, ‘Why are you talking?’ I didn’t even touch him. And they threw a flag. How can they throw a flag on you for talking (expletive) to a coach? Especially to a (expletive) who ain’t supposed to be on the field?”
Jones continued, criticising Brown’s reaction to the hit, saying, “Man, that (expletive) was (expletive) acting. He flopped. He needs a (expletive) Academy Award for that performance.”
Jones wasn’t done, however. He went on “The Dan Patrick Show” on Monday and doubled down on his comments, saying Brown winked at the Bengals as he was escorted off the field. He also said he only made contract with the referee (the reason he was flagged) because he was trying to get their attention that Porter was on the field when he shouldn’t have been.
Brown isn’t the only Bengals player ripping Porter. Tackle Andrew Whitworth said today that he doesn’t have any respect for Porter:
Whit: I respect steelers and Coach Tomlin. but Joey Porter I don’t respect. No class.
— Geoff Hobson (@GeoffHobsonCin) January 11, 2016
A Steelers player had a different version of the on-field behaviour, however.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, some Steelers players have been celebrating Porter’s role in the extra 15 yards that won them the game. There’s been speculation that Porter was given the game ball, and one Steelers player told Fowler that Porter was the MVP of the game.
The game was so fraught with poor behaviour that it’s impossible to assign blame to any one player or team. The officials failed to keep it under control, and the level of physical play got out of hand.
Unfortunately for the Bengals, they lost their composure at the worst moment and ended their season. The Steelers, regardless of taunting from Porter or acting from Brown, will play next Sunday.
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