Pittsburgh Steelers linebackers coach Joey Porter continues to face mounting criticism for his actions stemming from Saturday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals, including from within the Bengals' locker room. During Monday's final open locker room session of the season, All-Pro offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth ripped into Porter. "I have respect for the Steelers and head coach Mike Tomlin," Whitworth said. "Joey Porter is not one of the people I have respect for. His unprofessionalism is ridiculous."
With 22 seconds remaining in the Saturday's Wild Card matchup between the Bengals and Steelers, Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict instigated "the meltdown" when he lowered his shoulder during Antonio Brown's crossing route, making contact with his head and sending Brown spiraling to the turf.
The repercussions from this act have been significant. The personal foul Burfict drew put the Steelers into field goal range, and the fact that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was operating with an injured shoulder made that factor even more relevant. In addition to the immediacy, Burfict could face a multi-game suspension to start the season next year and just about the entire NFL community is talking about Burfict with only bad things to say today.
Then, Burfict's hit, indirectly, led to Adam Jones' personal foul.
As trainers attended Brown on the field, Porter walked onto the field to reportedly check on Brown with "genuine concern". As Brown was helped off the field, Vontaze Burfict appeared to say something to the receiver before Porter began talking at Burfict. Adam Jones explained to NFL reporter Mike Silver what was said (he was a bit emotional at the time):
"He ain't supposed to be on the (expletive) field!" Jones said. "He was talking all kinds of (expletive), yelling at (Burfict), saying, 'You a dirty son of a bitch ... Take your bitch ass out of here ...' So I turned to him and said, 'Why are you talking?' I didn't even touch him. And they threw a flag.
"How can they throw a flag on you for talking (expletive) to a coach? Especially to a (expletive) who ain't supposed to be on the field? It'd be different if I was gonna approach a (expletive) player. There's a big (expletive) difference. I mean, Mike Tomlin wasn't even on the field. Why the (expletive) is Joey Porter on the field, period?"
Wallace Gilberry also walked over and collided with Porter.
During this confrontation, Adam Jones, who has claimed that Brown was faking the injury, was flagged for a personal foul and the Steelers were gift-wrapped an opportunity to convert a chip-shot field goal to win the game -- actually, this is the definition of the "Bengals losing the game", as opposed to the "Steelers winning". Whatever. Semantics.
At the end of the day, there is plenty to fault here.
- Burfict should have pulled up and avoided Brown as best he could;
- Porter shouldn't have been on the field;
- The officials should have paid more attention to the game they're officiating (seriously, the officials inattentiveness is amateurish at best and a culprit for how things got out of control);
- Officials should have flagged Porter, not Jones, for instigating the situation and for being on the field in the first place;
- Adam Jones (I MEAN, SERIOUSLY) needs to learn to walk away.