Even in a year where everyone is lighting up the scoreboard with big offensive plays, the Bengals and Steelers managed to turn a football game into an ugly, physical and oftentimes personal brawl. Such was the case in Pittsburgh's Week 6 win.
And you won't believe this, but Vontaze Burfict appears to be have been at the center of the aggression. One the helmet of Antonio Brown. It's difficult to believe Burfict, who previously knocked Brown out with a concussion in a playoff game, did it on accident.
According to Roethlisberger,after the Brown play.
"He hits A.B., then, literally, as I am under center for the next play, he points at JuJu and says, 'You're next,'" Roethlisberger said. "How do you allow that stuff?"
Evidence from the game tape doesn't provide the audio of Burfict yelling, but as Mike Garofolo of NFL Media noted, you can clearly see Burfict point twice towards JuJu on the replay.
Here's a slightly better version that details the point and JuJu's location.
One major caveat here: Burfict is the captain of the defense, so it's possible he was simply calling out a play or an audible or pointing out that JuJu need to be covered. It does look like cornerback William Jackson points at JuJu as well.
But JuJu corroborated Ben's story in a separate interview with ESPN, saying that the Bengals were making "major threats" in his direction.
"Major threats. They were all making threats at me," Smith-Schuster said.
The reality of Burfict's situation is he's got such a lengthy history of violent behavior in football games that it's difficult to give him the benefit of the doubt. He might also be motivated to come after Smith-Schuster, as JuJu is failing a drug test and being suspended four games to start the season in 2018.that knocked Burfict out last season. Burfict would later claim the hit by JuJu led to him
JuJu also described Sunday's game as "the most physical game I've been in," even more so than last season's game, "because the defense had their head on their shoulders and they were coming after all of us."
"You could just see it, with the talking, the pushing and shoving, the tackling, just doing the extra stuff," Smith-Schuster added.
There is plenty of bad blood involved here, and with the Steelers taking their complaints public, you can expect Burfict and the Bengals defenders to be even more amped up about going after the Pittsburgh players in Week 17, a game that could easily end up being a de facto AFC North title game.