Monday, 16 July, 2018

2 suspensions for dirty hits in Bengals-Steelers game

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell celebrates his touchdown with wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster in the second half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals Monday Dec. 4 2017 in Cincinnati. (AP 2 suspensions for dirty hits in Bengals-Steelers game
Kristopher Love | 06 December, 2017, 00:28

Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and Bengals safety George Iloka have each been suspended one game for violations of safety-related playing rules, the National Football League announced on Tuesday.

The hit occurred on a short pass to Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell in the fourth quarter and resulted in Burfict getting carted off due to a head injury. The wideout then stood over Burfict, with Smith-Schuster later admitting that he "messed up" by taunting the fallen linebacker since it cost his team 15 yards.

Both plays occurred on the same drive in the fourth quarter.

In his letter to Smith-Schuster, NFL Vice President of Football Operations Jon Runyan wrote Smith-Schuster violated rules that prohibit contact with a defenseless player and unsportsmanlike conduct. Then afterward he leered over him, taunting him.

Smith-Schuster has become a popular player in Pittsburgh due to his fun personality.

After the game, Smith-Schuster took to social media to apologize.

Smith-Schuster has quickly become a fan favorite as a rookie with the AFC North-leading Steelers, but he will be absent for a division showdown with the second-place Ravens this coming weekend.

Burfict lay motionless on the field for a period of time but was able to walk into the locker room under his own power. At the bare minimum, it qualified as striking a defenseless receiver.

The brutal hit came after Pittsburgh's Ryan Shazier and Cincinnati's Joe Mixon already had exited the game with head and neck injuries in what was an uncomfortably violent game. We would expect a one-game ban to be handed down on Tuesday.