Steelers wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster decided to imitate his infamous blindside hit on Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict during Patriots-Steelers Sunday.
In the second quarter, Martavis Bryant reeled in a spectacular one-handed touchdown grab over Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore to give Pittsburgh a 17-10 lead. Afterwards, Smith-Schuster knocked Bryant down, and then stepped over him and taunted his motionless body. It mimicked Smith-Schuster’s actions when he laid out Burfict in Week 13.
Smith-Schuster was suspended one game for his antics and ripped the NFL’s decision to discipline him. “I thought it was b********,” he told reporters. “I should have never gotten suspended. I should have took a fine like everybody else. But instead, they give me the same suspension as (Rob Gronkowski). So that sucks.”
Gronkowski pulled off some memorable celebrations of his own Sunday, especially on the Patriots’ game-winning drive, where he reeled in three catches for 69 yards and came down with the two-point conversation. After the two-point conversion, Gronkowski went into robot mode and unleashed perhaps the most vicious Gronk Spike yet.
In comparison to Smith-Schuster, Gronk was downright wholesome.
Taking the lead in the final minute of the first half of the biggest game of the regular season was cause for celebration.
So the Steelers’ JuJu Smith-Schuster and Martavis Bryant made it a memorable one – and one that won’t be too popular with the folks in Cincinnati.
After Bryant made a one-handed catch for a 4-yard touchdown that gave the Steelers a 17-10 lead they carried into halftime of their AFC showdown against the New England Patriots, Smith-Schuster and Bryant reenacted the hard block that Smith-Schuster laid on Cincinnati’s Vontaze Burfict during a win at the Bengals on Dec. 4.
Smith-Schuster was suspended for the following game as a result of the hit – and the taunt that followed. Smith-Schuster stood over Burfict; he was flagged both for that and for the hit, each a personal foul. Burfict left that game because of a concussion and has not played in the two weeks since.
Burfict lunged up at Smith-Schuster and grabbed at his legs when the hit happened. Bryant mimicked that, too.
Pittsburgh Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster served a one-game suspension for his block on Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who remains in concussion protocol after he was carted off the field with the injury during the Bengals’ 23-20 loss to the Steelers last Monday night.
But Smith-Schuster told reporters he “felt like it was a good hit” and said it’s representative of play that will remain part of his approach, according to triblive.com’s Chris Adamski.
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“Oh, I am still playing physical,” he said. “That’s going to be a part of my game. That’s who I have always been since I was a kid.
“I am still going to make those blocks, you know? Yes, I am going you be more careful; I’m going to aim for the shoulder and lower, just to be more protective of the game.”
Smith-Schuster said he wasn’t aware that the hit was on the volatile and polarizing Burfict, who has a long history of animosity with the Steelers.
“It was just like, ‘OK, this is a Bengals player, let me go and make this block for Le’Veon (Bell),'” Smith-Schuster said. “I stood over him after and I said, ‘Oh wow, that’s Burfict,’ and I was like ‘Oh damn,’ so that’s when I relaxed ‘Aw, man, here we go. This is it.'”
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said last week that Smith-Schuster shouldn’t have been suspended for the hit.