Something crazy almost always seems to happen whenever Burfict is on the field with the Steelers and this game was no different. During the third quarter, Burfict started a minor controversy when his elbow struck Antonio Brown in the head .
The hit to Brown's head knocked the Steelers wide receiver out of the game for several plays.
With Burfict's reputation, it wouldn't have been surprising to see the NFL suspend him for something like that, but that's apparently not going to happen. According to NFL.com, Burfict is "not expected" to be suspended for the hit, although he could still end up facing a fine.
Although it's hard to judge Burfict's intent there, the Steelers definitely thought it was dirty. After the game, Ben Roethlisberger said Burfict threatened JuJu Smith-Schuster one play after he hit Brown with his elbow.
"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, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "How do you allow that stuff?"
In a separate interview, Smith-Schuster confirmed that he was threatened by multiple players on the Bengals defense, although he didn't mention Burfict by name.
"Major threats. They were all making threats at me," Smith-Schuster said, via ESPN.com.
The Steelers wide receiver did say that Burfict was spreading lies about him.
"Dropping f-bombs, everything. Burfict was out there lying, saying I spit on him which I didn't," Smith-Schuster said.
There's definitely some bad blood between Smith-Schuster and Burfict. When the two teams met in Cincinnati for a December showdown last season, the Steelers wide receiver was hit with a personal foul penaltyon Burfict that knocked the Bengals linebacker out of the game.
According to Smith-Schuster, Sunday's game was even more physical than that December game, which the Steelers won 23-20.
"This was the most physical game I've been in," Smith-Schuster said. "Last year was physical, but I say this game was a lot more physical, 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."
Besides Roethlisberger and Smith-Schuster, Steelers offensive lineman Al Villanueva also called out Burfict for his playing style.
"Burfict is a really good football player and I think everybody in this locker room has respect for what he can do on the field," Villanueva said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "That hit on A.B, it's unnecessary. It's bad for the game. It's hurting the National Football League. It's hurting fans that are deciding if they want to let their kids play football. It's injuring players in the NFL that are going to have consequences after football. I think there's no place for that behavior. For him to come out and continue to talk and continue to make this game something more than a football game, it's very unfortunate."
There's definitely some bad blood between these two teams and it's only going to boil over between now and when they play each other again in Week 17. That's right, the final game of the NFL season could be a Bengals-Steelers game in Pittsburgh.