Pacman Jones: 'The [expletive] officials did a horrible job'
January 10, 2016 1:17 AM
Steelers' Antonio Brown is attended to after taking a hard hit against the Bengals in the fourth quarter in the AFC wild-card game Saturday at Paul Brown Stadium.
By Ray Fittipaldo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Bengals self-destructed in the final seconds of the AFC wild-card game against the Steelers Saturday night, committing two personal foul penalties that gave the Steelers 30 yards and set up Chris Boswell’s winning field goal with 14 seconds remaining.
The first personal foul was on linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who lowered his shoulder into Antonio Brown’s head after an incomplete pass. That moved the ball from the Cincinnati 47 to the 32. The second personal foul, which occurred while Brown was being attended to by trainers on the field, was called on cornerback Adam Jones for unnecessary roughness. That gave the Steelers the ball at the 17, where Boswell booted the winning field goal.
Jones said after the game that he confronted Steelers outside linebackers coach Joey Porter for being on the field.
Ed Bouchette and Gerry Dulac talk about the Steelers win over the Bengals
Ed Bouchette and Gerry Dulac talk about the Steelers win over the Benglas at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. (Video by Peter Diana 1/10/2016)
“I was trying to figure out why the [expletive] Jerry Porter was on the field and talking [expletive],” Jones said. “He didn’t have nothing to do with the injury and he was in the middle of the huddle. He did that [expletive] the whole game. The [expletive] officials did a horrible job, the whole [expletive] game. What the [expletive] is the difference from the hit Vontaze had than the other hit [from Bengals defensive back Shawn Williams earlier in the game]? What’s the difference? Tell me. Then they have Jerry Porter in the middle of the field. He’s not even supposed to be on the [expletive] field. I’m done talking to you [expletives].”
Bengals coach Marvin Lewis was seen having an angry exchange with Burfict after his personal foul penalty, but he seemed to question whether the officials made the correct call on Burfict.
“He was trying to defend the play,” Lewis said. “Calls went different ways. They deemed that was a hit to the head. Others not.”
Burfict said he did not receive an explanation from reporters. And just about every question Burfict fielded, he responded with, “I don’t know.”
Reporters huddled around Bengals running back Jeremy Hill in the somber Cincinnati locker room. It was Hill who fumbled with 1:36 remaining and gave the ball to the Steelers to start their final drive.
“It’s on me,” he said, softly. “It’s unfortunate.”
No love lost
The NFL had its officials stand guard at the 50 when the Steelers and Bengals warmed up, but they couldn’t do much when the bad blood between the two teams spilled over into the game. The Steelers and Bengals talked all week about not allowing their emotions to hurt their team, but each team was penalized with personal foul penalties in the first half.
The Steelers were called twice for personal fouls, both when they were on offense in Cincinnati territory. The first one was on offensive line coach Mike Munchak, who got tangled with Bengals safety Reggie Nelson after Nelson shoved running back Jordan Todman out of bounds.
The Steelers had to punt after the penalty was enforced into Bengals territory. Later in the second quarter, Ramon Foster was called for a personal foul when the Steelers had second-and-10 from the Bengals 29. The 15-yard penalty made it second-and-25 from the 44. The Steelers eventually kicked a field goal to go ahead, 3-0, on the drive.
The Bengals lost their cool when defensive lineman Domata Peko came off the sideline to shove Steelers running back Fitzgerald Toussaint after a play. The 15-yard penalty set up the Steelers in Bengals territory, but Markus Wheaton fumbled two plays later.
In the second quarter, Ben Roethlisberger joined Terry Bradshaw as the only other quarterback in Steelers history to throw for 3,500 yards in the postseason.
Roethlisberger entered the game with an 11-2 record at Paul Brown Stadium and a perfect 7-0 mark in playoff games with a passer rating of 80 or better. Roethlisberger’s 148.7 rating in the 2005 wild-card game is the highest against the Bengals in a playoff game.
Much-maligned cornerback Antwon Blake came up with an interception and a 35-yard return after Wheaton fumbled. It was Blake’s first career interception in the postseason.
First-year kicker Boswell passed Jeff Reed for most Steelers field goals in a postseason game when he kicked his fourth for the win. Reed had three in a loss to Tennessee in the divisional round in 2002.
Backup running backs are all the rage on wild-card weekend. Half the teams had to or will have to start a backup because of injuries to their starters.
Three of the four teams that played Saturday started a backup running back, and one of the four teams that play today will start a backup.
The Steelers started Toussaint, who could be considered their third-string back. He wasn’t even on the active roster until Le’Veon Bell was lost for the season halfway through it. Toussaint made his first career start after DeAngelo Williams injured his right foot in the regular-season finale against Cleveland.
The Chiefs-Texans game featured two backups. Charcandrick West took over the running duties for the Chiefs after Jamaal Charles was lost for the season with a knee injury. Alfred Blue started for the Texans in place of the injured Arian Foster.
This afternoon, Seattle is down to its third-string running back against the Vikings. Christine Michael is expected to get the start because Thomas Rawls and Marshawn Lynch have injuries.
Entering the game, Bengals coach and McDonald native Lewis was tied for the most futile playoff stretch by a head coach in NFL history, and now he holds the distinction of being the only one at 0-7. Before Lewis, former Saints and Colts coach Jim Mora also lost his first six postseason games. Lewis has also lost on wild-card weekend to the Steelers in 2005, to the Jets in 2009, to the Texans in 2011 and 2012, to the Chargers in 2013 and to the Colts a year ago.
The Steelers deactivated Williams, quarterback Mike Vick, cornerback Doran Grant, linebacker L.J. Fort, offensive lineman Byron Stingily, defensive end L.T. Walton and receiver Sammie Coates. The Bengals deactivated quarterback Andy Dalton, receiver Mario Alford, defensive tackle DeShawn Williams, offensive lineman Eric Winston, tight end Ryan Hewitt and defensive linemen Marcus Hardison and Margus Hunt.
Ray Fittipaldo: email@example.com and Twitter @rayfitt1.
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