In a season that has been full of ups and downs for the Pittsburgh Steelers, their victory over Cincinnati Bengals was reassuringly familiar on Sunday. Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown once again combined for some game winning heroics after Vontaze Burfict had done his best to send the Steelers’ star receiver to the hospital with a blow to the head.
Despite the talk coming out of Cincinnati of a team meeting to address the questionable tactics they had previously employed against Pittsburgh, it would appear that Vontaze Burfict failed to get the message. Having been manhandled by both Vance McDonald and James Conner earlier in the contest, the Bengals’ infamous linebacker finally made the sort of play he has become synonymous for in the second half.
The real Vontaze Burfict has arrived. pic.twitter.com/msxyIj8Js7— Chris Mack (@THEChrisMack) October 14, 2018
Vontaze Burfict is a bum pic.twitter.com/rT7ehVh6Mw— 360°FantasyFootball (@360FFB) October 14, 2018
While it is hard to believe a flag was not thrown, there should be little question that the play will receive the attention of the league office in the coming days. A suspension is very unlikely, even if it is warranted, but a fine should be forthcoming for the perpetual violent offender.
Although he was forced from the field temporarily, Brown was quick to return, and the only player noticeably injured by the hit was one of Burfict’s teammates. A group who are often the victims of the linebacker’s dirty play, in more ways than one.
Burfict was a non-factor for most of the day, notably missing several tackles in the game and looking very much like a player who had been taking it easy while serving a four game suspension to start the year. Easily tossed aside by Conner, Cincinnati’s notorious inside linebacker was much more bark than bite on Sunday.
"Nope." -Conner to Burfict pic.twitter.com/phtTJLFNj3— Benstonium (@Benstonium) October 14, 2018
Vance McDonald: still hard to tackle.@VMcDonald89 pic.twitter.com/mPcpPSdTxF— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) October 14, 2018
Ultimately, Burfict's greatest contribution to the game was sitting on the sidelines looking confused.
PLEASE HELP! This man was last seen being tossed around by Vance McDonald #Burfict pic.twitter.com/TCxHGmaWin— Benstonium (@Benstonium) October 14, 2018
Or looking lost while walking to the locker room after the game, questioning a seventh straight loss to the Steelers.
Vontaze Burfict walks off saying the #Bengals called something they never call. Not even in practice. @fox19 #Bengals pic.twitter.com/zGHxAhJSJz— Jeremy Rauch (@FOX19Jeremy) October 14, 2018
As you would expect for an organization like the Bengals, Marvin Lewis faked ignorance about the play in question when talking to the media during his postgame press conference, while Burfict made a quick exit to avoid discussing his antics.
Marvin Lewis on the Burfict hit on Brown: “I don’t know what hit you’re talking about. There are a lot of plays out there.”— Ray Fittipaldo (@rayfitt1) October 14, 2018
Marvin Lewis pretended not to know about the Burfict hit on Antonio Brown in his postgame news conference. A group of reporters gathered around Burfict's locker after the game. He grabbed his shoes and hustled into the training room. Refused a second request after that happened.— Ray Fittipaldo (@rayfitt1) October 14, 2018