As the old saying goes “There is no “I” in the word team” which is suppose to help young players realize that they are not the only person on the team, that there are others, and together they can all win.
Well, that wasn’t the case last night in the AFC Wild Card game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers at a rainy cold Paul Brown Stadium on the banks of the Ohio River. The three “I’s” of Cincinnati cost the Bengals, and their faithful fans their first play off win in a quarter of a century. The three “I’s” I’m alluding to are Marvin Lewis, Vontaze Burfit, and Adam “don’t call me Pac-Man anymore” Jones.
The first “I” Vontaze Burfit, who in my opinion should be out of the league after his total lack of control last night, as well as “punk” like actions in the past. There is a reason he went undrafted out of ASU. His 6 tackles, huge LEGAL sack that knock Steeler’s QB Ben Roethlisberger out of the game, forced fumble, and a HUGE interception in the final minutes of the game that should have made him a HERO, and would have…BUT…Mr. Hyde came out to play and like the rain that fell throughout the game, washed it all away. After Jeremy Hill fumbled on the very next play Burfict went “head hunting” and drilled defenseless Pittsburgh receiver Antonio Brown, his personal foul for the asinine play moved the ball 15 yards.
(The Steelers at the time of the foul were out of time outs on the Bengals 47 yard line with a injured QB and :18 seconds left on the clock, down 1 point.)
As Brown lay on the ground the second “I” came into play in the form of “SUPER PUNK” Adam Jones, who has a history of a vicious temper. Jones pushed Steelers Assistant coach Joey Porter while he was on the field taking care of the Brown situation (apparently Porter was “jawing” at the Bengals … but you have to be above it and let it go). That personal foul carried another 15 yards with it, and now with the same :18 seconds on the clock, the Steelers have a chip shot field goal from the 35 yard line to win the game…which they did 18-16.
As for the third “I” which I feel is the most important, and probably the reason Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis gets fired (or should). It is obvious he has ZERO control over his players. He needed to corral Burfict somehow, if he does that there is no Jones incident, the Bengals win, the fans don’t show their ugly side, and the team would be headed to New England for the second round.
(photo credits CBS Sports, Behind the Steel Curtain, Fireball, Bleacher Report, and Anninvitation)