ANTONIO BROWN somehow makes a leaping catch, takes an illegal blow to the head by Bengals safety George Iloka, and holds on for the game-tying touchdown. A Chris Boswell field goal as time expired put the game in the win column for the Steelers, Dec. 4. (AP Photo)

On Monday night, Dec. 4, the Pittsburgh Steelers pulled off a last minute 23-20 win over the despised Cincinnati Bengals in Cincy.

However, for two successive weeks, the Black and Gold has been forced to depend upon the “Midas toe” of their place kicker, Chris Boswell. This game had all of the elements of a battle for the ages. Players being laid out as if they were soldiers fighting on a battlefield being forced to face tanks, rockets, mortars and other conventional tools of modern-day warfare, with only helmets, cleats, shoulder pads and a pigskin.

STEELERS LINEBACKER RYAN SHAZIER suffered a devastating back injury while attempting to make a tackle in the opening quarter against Cincinnati. He has spent the last two nights at University of Cincinnati Medical Center, as doctors closely monitor his status. (AP Photo)

Breaking news: the “choir boy” and Bengals resident saint, Vontaze Burfict, was given a fresh clock-cleaning by the Steelers rookie wide receiver, Juju Smith-Schuster. Schuster threw a block for Le’Veon Bell as Bell was his making his way downfield. After Smith-Schuster delivered the bone-crushing blow to Monsieur Burfict, Sir Juju stood over the stunned Burfict appearing as if he was ready to perform a jig, post haste. See, boys and girls, it is usually Mr. Burfict who delivers bad news on the gridiron, but on this occasion, Burfict was the one who had to sign for the contraband. If there was any doubt about the outcome of this collision, well, put it this way: only the chiropractor knows for sure. As far as Smith-Schuster standing over Burfict as he lay dazed and bewildered on the field, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was as always, politically correct. Postgame, he said: “He shouldn’t have stood over him…We want to play within the rules; we respect player safety, I can assess a judgment on the fact that he stood over him and that’s not how we play and that’s not reflective of the sportsman he is. I’m sure he’s sorry for that.”

Smith-Schuster said this about the play: “I didn’t know it was Burfict at first. All I saw was the first Bengal was going to tackle…and my instinct is I gotta block for my teammate. And me just playing ball, I hit him. After I seen the replay I think I should’ve held back a little bit more from blocking him. Also, I believe that that’s not me. I should’ve never stood over him. I apologize for that and with that being said, I hope he gets better.” Smith-Schuster, “hopes” Burfict “gets better.” Oh, the innocence of youth.

ARTIE BURNS breaks up a pass intended for Bengals receiver A.J. Green. The Steelers’ defense only allowed three points in the second half, en route to their comeback victory. (Photo by Courier photographer Thomas Sabol)

Vontaze Burfict has justifiably earned the reputation as a player who may, at times, bend the rules of competition in order to cause physical distress to his opponents. However, Burfict found out on this particular occasion that, “it’s no fun when the rabbit got the gun.” Burfict seriously injured not one but two Steelers in the past (Bell, and Antonio Brown) and his remorse for those actions seemed to be a bit “staged.” Steelers wide receiver Brown said that Burfict’s injury may have been due to “karma.” However, most people simply define it as “payback.”

So, the Steelers face another bloodthirsty AFC North rival, the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday night, Dec. 10, at Heinz Field. If you think the Steelers/Bengals matchup was a bit rowdy, it might be prudent to have a few extra paramedics on hand when the “dirty birds” come-a-callin’. This, my friends, may possibly be for all of the marbles, home-field advantage and a first-round bye. The Steelers will again be featured on primetime television.

And that’s the way they like it.


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