Sometimes, winning just isn’t enough. Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Chidobe Awuzie had to call out this Pittsburgh Steelers player for playing dirty in their matchup in Week 12.
After T.J. Watt’s malicious choking of Joe Burrow, we wouldn’t put it past the Steelers to pull a quick one when the referee isn’t looking (though during that Burrow incident, the referee was literally standing right in front of the two players).
The Bengals thumped the Steelers on Sunday, beating them by 31 points, so one could see how a Pittsburgh player’s frustrations could turn into mean or overly aggressive actions.
Awuzie’s comments were primarily directed toward Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson, who matched up against Awuzie for most of the game:
As much as we love Awuzie, his accusation seems just a bit suspect. This was Johnson’s “big” catch in Week 12 (he didn’t have many), and it doesn’t look like Johnson is grabbing Awuzie’s arm in any way.
Cincinnati Bengals CB Chidobe Awuzie isn’t happy with Steelers’ Diontae Johnson
Some tussling between receiver and defender is only natural for these contested catches, and we’d like to give Johnson the benefit of the doubt here.
Johnson finished with nine catches on 14 targets for 95 yards, leading a Steelers’ receiving corps that looked lifeless for most of Week 12’s game.
Star rookie Najee Harris only rushed eight times for 23 yards, in part due to the Bengals’ strong run defense.
Awuzie, Eli Apple, Mike Hilton, and the rest of Cincinnati’s secondary locked down the backfield and allowed the Steelers just one touchdown in the fourth quarter, when the game was practically over.
At the end of the day, the Bengals got a huge team win over their division rivals and should be looking ahead to next week’s more difficult matchup against the Chargers.
As in any game, it’s possible there was more foul play than meets the eye, but unless it was an especially malicious, injury-inducing stunt like Mac Jones grabbing Brian Burns’ leg, no harm done.
Besides, karma’s a b.