Update: Here’s another angle of the action, which makes it look like Vontaze Burfict may not be stomping on anything, but instead, just stepping over the pile of bodies on the ground.
Lost in the madness of Sunday’s loss in New England was yet another controversial play by Vontaze Burfict.
The embattled Bengals linebacker is already drawing criticism for his low hit on Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett, though only a fine and no suspension is the expected outcome in that regard. Marvin Lewis seemed unconcerned during his press conference regarding Burfict’s actions on the play and even alluded to
Now, it looks like the NFL will have another play to review from Sunday’s game that actually looks worse on Burfict’s part. It came in the fourth quarter on a game-clinching touchdown by LeGarrette Blount.
After the score, Burfict, by some accounts, appears to stomp on the leg of Blount, who took exception to the play.
Video: From coaches film (courtesy NFL), watch Vontaze Burfict (55) deliberately step on Blount's leg after TD. pic.twitter.com/wtTPqy3XHP— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) October 17, 2016
A ‘step’ is putting it nicely. That looks like a deliberate stomp to hurt Blount after the whistle had blown.
The NFL will review Burfict’s hit on Bennett’s knee in the same game. Bennett said Burfict apologized to him in the fourth quarter, saying the hit was an accident.
"Things happen in a game. It usually doesn't happen that way, but he apologized. He said he didn't try to do it," Bennett told reporters after the game. "It's part of the game."
The low shot on Bennett is questionable at best. The stomp on Blount is just a flat-out cheap shot. Even the biggest Burfict supporters can’t look at this play and reasonably say he doesn’t deserve to get penalized, potentially with another suspension.
Burfict's history will certainly be a factor in any discipline that comes down. What makes this worse for Burfict is the 26-year-old linebacker just served a three-game suspension to open this season, but the message clearly hasn’t hit home just yet. He'd previously been fined four times in 2015 alone for safety violations.
If Burfict is still out there taking these kind of unnecessary cheap shots, it’s hard to fault the NFL if they hand him another player safety-related suspension.
There’s just no place in the game for these kinds of plays.