That doesn't make it OK to hit Burfict with dirty shots, however, and that's precisely what JuJu Smith-Schuster did on Monday night. As Burfict was sprinting into position to try and tackle Le'Veon Bell on a pass play and he got absolutely leveled by the Steelers' rookie wide receiver.
Like, he straight-up smoked Burfict.
After the play, Smith-Schuster promptly stood over Burfict and taunted him.
It was highly unnecessary and he was flagged for it and. Burfict, who suffered what we assume will be called a concussion, was carted off the field and quickly declared out of the game.
He apparently is OK, however, although not very happy.
People watching the game were not happy with Smith-Schuster's hit on Burfict, even though the Bengals linebacker has a reputation for being an aggressive tackler.
I get that it’s a brutal sport played with emotion. But the taunting by JuJu Smith-Schuster after that vicious hit deserved an ejection.— Kevin Negandhi (@KNegandhiESPN) December 5, 2017
People defending JuJu are an easy block, so keep it to yourself.— Chris Towers (@CTowersCBS) December 5, 2017
If Burfict had done that to JuJu they'd have thrown him in Guantanamo Bay— Nick Kostos (@TheKostos) December 5, 2017
That was a disgusting dirty play— Pete Prisco (@PriscoCBS) December 5, 2017
Ugh. Bad look Juju.— Heather Brittany (@HeatherBrit) December 5, 2017
And that’s a suspension. Can’t believed he taunted him after that hit.— Sean Wagner-McGough (@seanjwagner) December 5, 2017
You can’t stand over that man like that.— Donté Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) December 5, 2017
The NFL, as I wrote this week, badly needs to step up and do something about meting out punishment in the middle of the game. When a game like this gets out of hand, the NFL has the ability to buzz into the officials and tell them to eject someone. Maybe just issue a warning. Do something. Anything -- just let the players know that dirty plays won't simply be punished with flags and potential suspensions. That sort of wrist-slapping doesn't do anything to curb the actions on the field and it makes people question whether they want to watch the game.