Violent Monday Night Football matchup gains attention

Matt Freed/Post-Gazette

While the game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals already had a number of storylines going into Monday’s game, there are even more storylines and concerns to follow after the game concluded. While looking at each team’s stats, the game appears to have been fairly evenly matched. The Steelers’ offense accrued 374 total yards with 24 first downs and only allowed one turnover. The Bengals’ offense gained 353 total yards with 19 first downs and no turnovers. Both teams averaged 5.9 yards per play and nearly had the same time of possession with Pittsburgh’s time of possession being 29:49 and Cincinnati’s time of possession being 30:11.
Pittsburgh took the victory with a final score of 23-20, further bringing into question Bengals’ quarterback Andy Dalton’s ability to come through during a “big game.” Sitting now at 5-7 on the season, Cincinnati is all but eliminated from playoff contention this season. This fact also brings to question the future status of head coach Marvin Lewis’ tenure with the Bengals.
But the big takeaway from the game is the number of penalties and injuries that occurred during the game. The two teams combined for 20 penalties for 239 yards, in which Cincinnati set a franchise record of 13 penalties for 173 yards. But the injuries are the headlines everyone seems most concerned about the day after the game.
Early in the first quarter Steelers’ linebacker Ryan Shazier suffered a back injury while making a tackle. Shazier made the tackle with his head down and while the video shows that Shazier’s legs appear to not move while he goes to the ground, the latest news on his status is that Shazier has regained movement in his lower body. After a night spent at the University of Cincinnati hospital is bringing good news so far for Shazier and the Steelers organization in that the injury will not require surgery at this time.

Unfortunately, Shazier’s injury wasn’t the only one of the night, nor was it the only injury resulting in a player being carted off of the field. Both linebacker Vontaze Burfict and running back Joe Mixon are two of the three Cincinnati players in concussion protocol after the game. As seen in the video, Burfict took a huge shot from Pittsburgh receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. While Smith-Schuster talked about the incident after the game Pittsburgh receiver Antonio Brown was heard shouting that the injury was “karma,” surely referring the 2015 season when Burfict made tackles causing injuries to Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell’s knee and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s shoulder during the regular season and a concussion to Brown himself during their post-season matchup.
Mixon took a hard hit from Steelers’ linebacker Vince Williams. While Mixon was able to walk to the sideline after lying motionless for a while, he was later taken to the locker room for further concussion testing. Mixon did not return to the game. Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick is the third Bengals player placed in concussion protocol following the game. Cornerback Adam Jones also left the game early with a groin injury.
Some will say that the results of Monday night’s game are just AFC North football, but the number of serious injuries has gained the attention of not only the players and teams but has gained the attention of the media and fans as well. Surely NFL officials will be taking a look into ways to further protect the players of the league. We will have to wait to see what, if any, actions the NFL officials may take towards any teams or players as a result.
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About Brian Bertke 60 Articles
I’m Brian Bertke and I am a general sports fan. I follow football and baseball the most but I can find nearly all sports interesting. The teams you will likely see me cheering on will be the Ohio State University Buckeyes, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Reds and Bowling Green State University Falcons. While I did start my college studies at BGSU, I graduated from Bluffton University in Bluffton, Ohio in 2012 with bachelor’s degrees in sports management and business administration and graduated with a master’s in business administration three years after that. My dream is to have a form of ownership of a professional sports franchise, but writing about sports can be just as interesting.