Pittsburgh, PA: The Steelers would come back from being down 17, and from what could be a season or career ending injury to their best defensive player Ryan Shazier. After that injury, that was of his own doing, the game turned south quickly. There were several really bad hits and some other just brutal hits that drove several players out of the game. The carnage was bad enough,but then the officiating was nearly as bad. This officiating crew threw flags until they could not throw anymore. It was a tough watch but in the end, the Steelers would close out the Bengals with a Boswell last second field goal to win by the final score of 23-20.
First and foremost, there is no update on Ryan Shazier as he suffered the first ugly injury of the game. Ryan Shazier would dive into a tackle head pointed straight forward connecting with either another body or helment. After the hit, he dropped to the ground grabbing his lower back and absolutely no movement in his legs. It was one of the scariest injuries you will see a Football Player have.
— NFL Blitz (@NFLBilitz) December 5, 2017
He was carted off, and later we saw this the Steelers GM on the sidelines talking with Mike Tomlin. It does not take much a lip reader to see he said Ryan can’t feel is body below his waist.
— Andy (@AndyMuka10) December 5, 2017
The next really bad hit was a crack back from JuJu Smith Shuster on Vontaze Burfict that took him out of the game. Very Heinz Ward-esque.
Launching with the helmet. Suspend him pic.twitter.com/Zt8Vkxg6ru
— Busted Coverage (@bustedcoverage) December 5, 2017
So many fans reacted to this hit as if to say Vontaze Burfict deserved it. There is no doubt Burfict is bad news and has played over the edge and dirty for a while. But at no point and or at any time is a celebration standing over a hit like that ever a good idea. It was a crack back to the head to a defenseless defender. It’s illegal and just like all the illegal and dirty hits Burfict has issued, it can not be tolerated.
Here is what Ju Ju had to say about it after the game.
“I have to block for my teammate, me just playing ball, I just hit him. After I saw the replay, I think I should have held back more. That’s not me. I should have never stood over him. I apologize for that. i hope he gets better.”
The second player that left the game was Bengals running back Joe Mixon. He was running over, around and through the Steelers until he was hit in the head which left him motionless face first on the ground for a few minutes. He would eventually get up and walk off under his own power only to be ruled out Later for a return.
As for the game, the officials made it about them as they over officiated at every turn. Phantom pass interference calls, bogus holding calls that were obscenely bad on explosion plays for both teams. The NFL needs to take a good look at this officiating crew and either break them up, issue fines, or suspend them. They were completely out of control and as reported by ESPN, this group calls the third most penalties of all the crews the NFL has.
Once you get beyond all the ridiculous violence and officiating, tonight’s game was about the Steelers offense finally waking up in the second half. They would outscore the Bengals 20-3 in the second half which was just enough for the win as time expired.
The Steelers defense was gashed throughout the first half with big plays. Andy Dalton peppered the Steelers with Medium length passes in soft zones, mixed with a more than effective running game that the Steelers had no answer for in that first half. Dalton looked extremely sharp while the defense looked as if they were just holding on as the captain of that defense left the game with a serious injury.
Dalton would play a near perfect first half putting together 2 touchdown drives and a field goal drive. A.J. Green was as good as he has been all season at receiver. He toyed with the Steelers secondary as they not only could not cover him, they could not tackle him either. He would connect to AJ Green on an 8 yard TD pass at the end of the first quarter and a 15 yard TD pass to Green with 31 seconds left in the second that put them up 17-0.
The Steelers offense knew they had to respond, especially with the Bengals getting the ball first in the second half. So Ben went to work and made a couple of plays, one of which was a big gain on a pass interference call that gave the Steelers a very close shot at a field goal. Boswell would convert and the lifeless Steelers looked like there was hope.
After holding the Bengals to a 3 and out on the first drive of the second half, Pittsburgh drove down the field for a touchdown to cut the lead to 17-10. It was a pass to Bell that was Ben’s last resort and Bell ran towards the sidelines. He was started to turn up field when a Bengal defender gave him a half-hearted shove, followed by two other Cincinnati players spectating as Bell would keep his feet in bounds and walk into the endzone on a 35 yards TD pass.
— Bovada Official (@BovadaLV) December 5, 2017
After Cincy would tack on 3 more points, Pittsburgh would go to work again putting 3 drives together. The first was a field goal to cut the lead to 20-13. Then there was the penalty aided touchdown in the 4th quarter that tied the game. Finally, after a Bengal 3 and out, Pittsburgh would get the ball with less than 2 and half minutes remaing. The Steelers would do just enough to get close for Boswell to do his thing.
After the game, Coach Tomlin did not have any updates, although he left the facility very quickly after the presser with the Steelers front office and was seen at the Hospital walking in. As for the presser itself, He would not take much bait after the game when asked about specific hits.
BREAKING: Ryan Shazier has suffered a Spinal Contusion and the Doctors will not know anything else till some of the swelling goes down.
For those keeping score at home, the Steelers are now down a shut down corner, Mike Mitchell who is technically one of their better safeties when Hayden is on the field. Couple that with Now being without Shazier makes this not a great scenario. This defense was chewed up in the first half against a team that can not get out of it’s own way most of the time.