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Bungle in the Jungle! Cincy Turnovers, Stupid Penalties Show Kids how NOT to Play Football

Here’s how Cincinnati lost an UN-LOSE-ABLE game to their hated rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers.


The NFL Wild Card game between the Steelers and the Bungles – for that’s what they are after the way they lost that game – should be required viewing for every young athlete. It’s a perfect example how to blow a game with selfishness and stupidity. Indeed, some teams have institutionalized losing. Welcome to that club – once again – Cincinnati Bengals fans. Indeed, Cinci fans are calling this the most humiliating defeat in the history of the franchise: a home playoff loss against their most hated rival caused solely by selfish, undisciplined play by, of course, the Bengals themselves.

The good news is that it’s a perfect teachable moment for young athletes Let’s review:

With Pittsburgh’s offense sputtering under either an ineffective Landry Jones or a hobbled Ben Roethlisberger, and just 22 ticks left on the clock before they would end 25 years of playoff frustration, (as well as defeat their most hated rival), Bungle LB Vontaze Burfict ruthlessly and needlessly speared defenseless Steeler receiver Antonio Brown, knocking him semi-conscious. That moved the Steelers from the Cincinnati 48 yard line to the 33. Then between plays as Steeler coaches and medical personnel attended to the unconscious Brown, perennial troublemaker Adam “Don’t call me Pacman anymore, because I’ve changed” Jones shoved Steeler linebacker coach Joey Porter while standing right next to a referee. That triggered a second 15-yard penalty, moving the ball to the Cinci 18. Chris Boswell knocked the chip-shot field goal through and the Bengals have now lost eight consecutive playoff games, stretching back to 25 years ago.

Jones apparently also tried to tell officials Brown was faking the concussion, but with the Steeler WR still under league protocol, it’s a good thing for us that Pacman isn’t a doctor.

The penalties ruined the fairy tale ending they worked on so hard for 59:46. The Bengals hung around bending but not breaking for close to three quarters before the sickest circus catch of the year – a double-dot-the-I, flip-in-the-air, pin-the-ball-to-my-ass-with-one-hand, stick-the-landing-perfectly touchdown catch by Martavis Bryant put Pittsburgh up 15-0.

But when Burfict sacked Roethlisberger at the Steeler 6 and mashed his shoulder into the turf in a tough but, clean tackle, everything changed. Big Ben was carted off the field – while Cincinnati fans cheered his injury and threw water bottle and trash at him – and Landry Jones came in.

Landry Jones didn’t get a single first down for the Steelers, and with short fields the Bengals ripped off 16 points, the last six of which came with 1:43 left on an A.J. Green sideline out. And when Burfict intercepted Jones on the next play from scrimmage, the Bengals were on their way to Foxboro.

They left a little early though – after the play, Burfict led a squadron of Bengal defenders through the end zone, (74 yards away), into the tunnel and towards the locker room in a me-first celebration.

Cue the banana peel…and the vengeful Sports Gods.

Jeremy Hill fumbled on the next play…indeed, on what should have been the first of three kneel downs before a field goal or a punt buried the Steelers deep. Nut no, for some reason, they ran a play and paid the ultimate price.

Better call Burfict and Co. back from the locker room!

Still, there’s 58 yards before the Steelers can reach Boswell’s longest made FG ever. And only one minute left. What can Landry Jones do?

Jones? Little…but out came Roethlisberger. Remember Tiger “winning the 2008 U.S. Open with one arm? Well Ben won this game with dinosaur arms! Three of the five passes he completed were caught behind the line of scrimmage. He even told Mike Tomlin he couldn’t throw more than a couple yards. But he still led the Steelers in a dink-and dunk march to mid-field, even converting a 4th and 3.

Talk about heart? You can’t coach that. But you can coach the unselfish way in which the Steelers put team first. That’s Steeler football -give it your all, play smart as well as physical, and “don’t hurt your football club.” The Steelers know how to win…and that means they know how to steal games from teams that don’t.

Right on cue, undisciplined Cincy – the jailbird Bengals who all but tout “Our stripes are prison stripes, yo!” – imploded. Gorged upon their own me-first antics. Cincy beat writer Art Bidler said it perfectly:

“The ball sailed over the best wide receiver in football’s head and the situation was Vontaze Burfict’s to judge, he misjudged. The situation was then Adam Jones’ to walk away from, he didn’t. A 30 yard gain resulted on an incomplete pass.”

Worse – a lost game resulted from an incomplete pass.

The Bungles – that’s Marvin Lewis’s team…yet again. Who dey think gonna beat dem Bengals? The Bengals! That’s who! Poor Bengal fans – their team is just a perennial cautionary tale.

The penalties turned what would have been the greatest Cinci win over the Steelers into the greatest Pittburgh win over the Bengals, even greater than the 2006 win in the same Wild Card round back when Jerome Bettis rode off into the sunset covered in glory. It’s almost as if the Bengals team culture cares less about winning than about preening. They just don’t know how to win there, at least not big games.

That is Marvin Lewis’s fault. Year in and year out, the Bengals are among the gravest offenders in the NFL on and off the field. Year in and year out a talented Bengal team makes a first round exit.

When you are too much of a players coach and letting them get away with everything and not imposing some sense of responsibility, you get a team that doesn’t care about winning as much as preening. And when a coach let’s that happen Hitherto shalt thou come with him, but no further. Lewis is the proper rejoinder to Norv Turner – good enough to win games, not great enough to win big games. Losing is one thing. Losing the way they did is another. No discipline, that’s always been a Cincinnati bugaboo.

You want to win, Cincinnati? Hire Tom Coughlin. He win titles in NEW YORK CITY…The Sports Crucible of the World. And he won them his way: tough love and discipline.


1. Making it rain, indeed, Pacman. The more things change, the more they stay the same. “This time will be different,” he promised…until he did it again.

2. Big Ben Bigger Heart – As my idol Dan Jenkins says, “You gotta play hurt!” Can the guy be more clutch? He proves it again and again late in games.

3. This one deserves to go down in steeler history: hated rival? Check miracle comeback from lost game? check? playoff? check! on the road? check!


First Cinci had the game won…and then they didn’t. Just like the Raiders back in 1972. And also like that tilt, a defensive star intentionally made a bonehead play and blew the game for his team. In the huddle before the Immaculate Reception the Raiders discussed, “Knock it down! Don’t go for the interception, and don’t go for the big hit…and that means YOU JACK!” they said, looking right at Tatum.

“yeah, yeah, I got it…knock it down,” he recited.

Then as he stood over Frenchy Fuqua after trying to knock him into the next week, he said to himself, “Man, Franco sure is in a hurry to get to the locker room.” It was only after Phil Villapiano snarled, “ASSHOLE!” as he ran by that he knew he was the reason the Raiders were about to be on the wrong side of history.

Burfict was Tatum last week. He had no reason or business drive-by trucking Brown in that instance, the ball was long gone. It was a premeditated attack by a payer already fined over $160,000 for vicious huts this year, a player noted sports broadcaster Steve Czaban called, “the dirtiest player in the league.” Both Phil Simms and Jim Nantz called the Bengals performance “disgraceful,” and venerable sports writer Art Spander succinctly observed, “After that disgraceful performance, Cincy deserved to lose.”

Watching Burfict and Jones plead their cases shows how they don’t get it. Burfict and Jones both have to go this off-season if they want to clean up not only their image, but the way the team approaches the way they conduct their business. Burfict and Pacman are epitomizing the words of the hit rock n roll song, Blaze On:

Be like me
Be proud of all your crimes
Cause when I screw up once
I do it too more times

As for the Steelers re the Bengals – it’s not war, it’s pest control. When the Steelers lock horns with the Ravens, the two teams may beat the bloody snot out of each other for 60 minutes, but they shake hands and trade stories and well wishes. The Bengals are the absolute opposite – an unprofessional, juvenile team scresaming for attention, and getting it for all the wrong reasons.

“You put in all this work for six months, and now it’s over,” Bengal wide receive A.J. Green said. “It’s tough. I’ve got no words.”

And that’s because his teammates let him down. This is the reason character counts. this is why you must teach discipline…not “emotion.” This is the reason you listen to your coach, not some talking head on TV.