clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

What the hell happened at the end of Steelers-Bengals last night?

New, comments

Here's everything you might have missed if you weren't watching football Saturday (you monster). Plus, a look ahead at Sunday's Wild Card games between the Seahawks and Vikings in Minnesota and the Packers and Washington in D.C.

SB Nation 2016 NFL Playoff Guide

Saturday night's Wild Card game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals began innocuously enough. Neither team could move the ball in the first half beneath pouring rain. Before the Steelers went into halftime with a 6-0 lead, there had been just one harbinger of the madness to come: A brief altercation in which Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak yanked Reggie Nelson's hair. Otherwise, both teams seemed loose. Steelers players were dancing up a storm.

Tension ramped up late in the third quarter when Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier knocked out Bengals running back Giovani Bernard from the game with a helmet-to-helmet hit, prompting players to scuffle and fans to throw trash at Ben Roethlisberger as he was getting carted off the field with an injury.

This game also brought us Martavis Bryant's unbelievable gooch catch and William Gay busting out slick dance moves to celebrate a touchdown that didn't count. But nothing could compare to the last two minutes when the game reached fever pitch.

It started with the Bengals' go-ahead strike to A.J. Green with 1:50 remaining. The Bengals entered the quarter down 15-0, and were suddenly up 16-15 and on the verge of winning. The game was seemingly sealed when Steelers backup quarterback Landry Jones threw a bad interception, but the Bengals fumbled the ball right back as they were trying to run out the clock.

Roethlisberger came back in the game and, though his arm appeared to be hindered, led the Steelers down to the Bengals' 47-yard line with 22 seconds remaining after a 12-yard completion on fourth-and-3 to Antonio Brown. That's when the Bengals committed two penalties that will live in infamy.

Vontaze Burfict laid a malicious, head-hunting hit on Brown that should cost the linebacker a lot of money, and perhaps earn him a suspension. It also gave the Steelers a free 15 yards. Then cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones gave the Steelers another 15 with a personal foul. Now at the 17-yard line, Chris Boswell easily booted a chip-shot game-winning field goal to advance the Steelers.

The Steelers gained the final 30 yards of their game-winning drive thanks to sheer stupidity by Bengals players. It was a wild, frenetic finish, and we might have called it fun if not for the pure nastiness injected into it by Burfict.

SIGN UP FOR OUR NFL NEWSLETTER

Get all kinds of NFL stories, rumors, game coverage, and inane comments from the NFL media in your inbox every day.

BUT WHAT ABOUT JONES? It's still not exactly clear what Jones did to earn a flag. We do know that Jones was absolutely livid at referees after the game because he posted a heated, expletive-laden rant on Instagram. Jones' penalty appeared to have something to do with the fact that Steelers outside linebackers coach Joey Porter was on the field, interacting with Bengals players -- something that our own Cyd Ziegler explains is definitely against the rules and likely should have earned a flag.

WHAT ABOUT BROWN? The Steelers' best offensive weapon suffered a concussion, putting his status in jeopardy for next week's game against the Denver Broncos.

OH YEAH, THAT MARTAVIS BRYANT CATCH! If not for the dramatic ending, Bryant's tuck 'n' roll, under-butt catch might have been the one thing people would have remembered about this game. It looked beautiful in pictures and spawned several brilliant memes. It was a ray of sunshine upon a brutal game.

THE CHIEFS WON TOO: In fact, Andy Reid's crew downright demolished the Texans, shutting them out to give Kansas City its first NFL playoff win since 1994. Brian Hoyer was putrid, but that might have had something to do with the Chiefs' secondary. Eric Berry recorded his first ever playoff interception to continue what has been an incredible season on and off the field.

The game began with Knile Davis scoring REALLY, REALLY FAST on the opening kickoff. From there, the Chiefs never looked back, gradually increasing their lead in the first half, then opening the floodgates in the second after J.J. Watt suffered a groin injury.

POOR NUKE: The only positive takeaway for the Texans was DeAndre Hopkins, the superstar receiver who we're probably still not talking about enough. Hopkins made an incredible toe-tapping catch that you should watch in slo-mo to fully appreciate. He was the subject of a ridiculously sad photo as the Texans ran into the tunnel at halftime under a hail storm of boos from the Houston crowd.

GET WELL, JEREMY MACLIN: The Chiefs receiver suffered an ACL injury against the Texans that does not appear to be a tear. Maclin will undergo an MRI on Sunday to determine the extent of the injury. If Maclin sits next week against the New England Patriots, it'll be a big blow to what was already a limited passing attack.

WHY'D CLOWNEY LEAVE: Yes, Jadeveon Clowney was upset he had to sit out Saturday's game. No, that does not appear to be why he left the stadium before kickoff.

GASE INTO THE FUTURE, DOLPHINS FANS: The Dolphins hired Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase as their new head coach, no doubt hoping he can breathe life into Ryan Tannehill and the offense.

OH YEAH, THOSE OTHER WILD CARD GAMES: It's difficult to imagine Sunday's games topping Saturday's action. If you've finally caught your breath and are ready for more, however, we have plenty to prepare you.