Did you see the Patriots game last night? I didn’t. What the hell was that? Needed about half a dozen lighthouses for that game to make sure the players weren’t running into each other. I honestly have no idea what happened in that game. I’ll take your word for it that the Pats won and that they played well.
And that was just one part of a weird weekend where seven teams didn’t score an offensive touchdown. Where the Bears won by 14 despite their offense only accounting for a field goal. And where the Panthers lost to a Bears team that had Mitchell Trubisky complete a grand total of four passes. Where the City of Los Angeles didn’t allow a single point to Arizona or Denver. And where the Titans and Browns combined for 7 field goals and zero touchdowns in an overtime game.
What I’m saying is there were a lot of games that were lacking something. But one game that wasn’t lacking anything was Cincinnati at Pittsburgh. That had everything. Cheapshots, stiff-arms, fake punts, and incredible celebrations.
You know it’s going to get interesting when these two get together and it didn’t take long. Barely 40 seconds into the game, Vontaze Burfict was on the ground when he appeared to deliver a double-footed kick to the head of Steelers fullback Roosevelt Nix. And the natural question is: Why? And the answer is, do you really need a reason why Vontaze Burfict goes Vontaze Burfict? That’s just how he is.
I can’t quite figure out the best part of that moment – the fact that he’s going double-kick inside the first minute of the game or that he immediately blames Nix and tries to get the official’s attention, like, “Hey, this dude just stuck his head in the path of my kicking feet, that’s a penalty, right?” LIKE, THAT CHUMP JUST HEAD-BUTTED MY FEET! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT THAT? He wasn’t flagged for it, but there’s a decent chance he’ll be fined for it. And maybe suspended again. Not those suspensions really seem to matter to him.
LeVeon Bell tweeted the clip later with the caption: “Dude gotta go, man. That’s not football at all.” And then followed that up with: “It’s unbelievable the league is just condoning this activity. But if Rosie reacts, Rosie would be the one that would get into trouble.”
But those tweets weren’t Bell’s strongest move of day, not by a long shot. Because early in the second quarter, Ben Roethlisberger hit Juju Smith-Schuster for a 31-yard touchdown that set off the greatest td celebration of the year. Don’t get me wrong. There have been some good ones. Juju Smith-Schuster’s Dragon Ball Z celebration, the Vikings game of duck-duck-goose, Juju Smith-Schuster and the Steelers rolling dice, the Lions wideouts playing ping-pong, and now Juju Smith-Schuster and LeVeon Bell doing this.
Juju got into the end zone, waited for Bell, then covered his eyes and counted while Bell ran and hid behind the goalpost, before Juju found him. Bringing back celebrations was a good idea, but Juju has made it a great idea. The Steelers need to keep feeding him the ball because I need to keep seeing these celebrations.
And as if it wasn’t bad enough to give up a touchdown and see the opposing team play children’s games in the end zone, it only got worse for the Bengals. Because with just under six minutes left in the second quarter, Bell dropped one of the nastiest stiff-arms you’ll ever see. With the game tied at 14, Ben Roethlisberger hit him with a dump-off pass and then Bell went to work. First up, Bengals linebacker Vincent Rey. Bell hit him with a juke that had me saying Oh My Goodness, and I wasn’t alone. According to Bell, Rey said the same: “I heard him say, ‘Oh my goodness.’ So I said, ‘Oh, he missed.’
Think about that for a second. You’re a running back, you juke a defender and then hear him say, “oh, my goodness.” How satisfying is that? Not nearly as satisfying as what was coming later. Because up next was Dre Kirkpatrick and the stiff-arm that stole his soul. (INSERT)
Bell hit him so hard with that stiff-arm that Kirkpatrick hit the turf and bounced back onto his feet. That’s not a football move, that’s a superhero move. He turned the ground into a trampoline. And yes, Bell will admit, that one was a little special: “That was one of my better stiff-arms of my life. I don’t know what happened or what came over me that play.”
And if that wasn’t bad enough for the Bengals, the Steelers had just a little more for them. With less than 7 minutes to go, up 12, they brought the punt team on for fourth down. And then this happened.
I’m not going to say that was a bleep you fake punt. But that was pretty much a bleep you fake punt. There is absolutely no love lost between these two teams and I love it.