By: Alex Marcheschi
Last night was another dramatic, heartbreaking Steelers game for Cincinnatians. We all basically knew the Bengals would blow it, and we’re mostly angry at ourselves for continuing to get invested in this team when we know they’ll let us down. It’s a genuine waste of time and money. There’s really nothing new to say about the actual game or the state of the Bengals. We all know what should happen, and we all know nothing that makes sense will happen.
There’s a lot of controversy surrounding the game, as is usually the case with any Cincinnati sporting event on the national stage. Unfortunately Ryan Shazier was seriously injured in the game because he led with his head on a tackle early in the game.
It sucks, but the Bengals had nothing to do with that. Nothing malicious. The controversy surrounds this block from JuJu Smith-Schuster on Vontaze Burfict:
Bengals lose in absolutely excruciating fashion once again, and this hit by JuJu Smith-Schuster took Vontaze out of the game at a crucial time. Gruden said he should've been ejected. Swipe over to see an eerily similar hit from Hines Ward on fellow # 55 Bengals linebacker Keith Rivers back in the day. The Steelers are and always have been scum, time is a flat circle.
These are the facts when it comes to that block: if it was a Jags vs. Titans game and that was Corey Davis laying out Myles Jack, no one is talking about the hit the day after. In actuality the block looks pretty clean, if we’re being honest. It was an absolutely devastating block, but there’s a real argument to be had that it was clean.
Things got crazy because JuJu stood over Burfict taunting when he could have been seriously injured. He didn’t have to lay out Burfict like that, but it’s football and you can’t blame him for doing so. He claims he didn’t know it was Burfict until after the fact, but that’s hard to believe. At that point in the game, everyone had their head on a swivel, and the Steelers hate Burfict. Everyone on the field knew Vontaze was a marked man, and they got him. I don’t know how anyone who was on that field got out of bed this morning.
People are calling for Jon Gruden’s head because he said JuJu should have been ejected after that hit, but earlier in the game he said he’d buy season tickets to watch Burfict play. They think it’s hypocritical. It’s not. The people freaking out about that are ignorant. Do they really think they know more about football than Jon Gruden? Anyone who loves football knows Vontaze Burfict is a generational talent, yes he loses his mind frequently and does ill-advised things, but 90% of the time he’s worth the price of admission. Nothing he does is ever in the spirit of “look at me.” Gruden hates the “look at me” stuff, that’s why he was pissed at JuJu. When Burfict screws up, it’s because he has no off switch. He’s wildly competitive and when he’s between the lines things are moving so fast and he’s such an explosive player that he doesn’t have the time or energy to govern himself. In fact, if there’s one way to explain how Vontaze plays, it’s as if he’s the most powerful engine in football with no governor.
Gruden didn’t like JuJu standing over ‘Taze’s body like that when he could’ve been seriously hurt and he respects how great of a player Vontaze is. That’s it. I mean, look at this tackle:
This is national news today because it was Bengals vs. Steelers and Burfict was involved. Plain and simple. At this point, it’s extremely clear that these PIT vs CIN games are officiated unlike any other games. If you can’t see the refs have a vested interest in making calls that benefit the Steelers, you’re not watching closely enough. As a result, emotions run wild. The Bengals are tired of feeling like the world is against them and they’re tired of losing. That creates raw emotion and hinders your ability to make rational decisions. If you have an older brother, think back to when he used to continually beat you in everything and there was nothing you could do about it. That’s the situation the Bengals are in, and it naturally breeds animosity.
The Bengals need a fresh start with a head coach from outside of the organization, otherwise this stuff will continue to happen. The odds of that happening are slim, but it’s what we need. Stay strong Bengals fans, it’s a tough life we lead.