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Vontaze Burfict led Bengals in tackles, despite knee injury

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The Bengals linebacker left Sunday’s game with a knee injury but returned and remained effective. But just how effective was he really? And, why do people think Burfict getting injured would be karma. What is karma? Find out here.

Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images

When Vontaze Burfict clearly injured his knee during the Bengals’ tie with the Redskins in London, I questioned why the coaching staff didn’t immediately force him to exit the game.

Burfict stayed on the field for one play following initially hurting his right knee and after staying in for that extra play, he went down on the field as it clearly began to increasingly bother him. He was attended to by the Bengals’ medical staff before walking off under his own power.

Burfict was ruled questionable to return, but if you’re a Bengals fan, you knew he’d be back. Of note, and to put any concern to rest, it was Burfict’s left knee that underwent microfracture surgery in 2014.

He ended up missing some time in the second and third quarters, but did return to the game. And when he did, he was still limping on the field. Again, raising the question of why the Bengals were letting him play while hurt.

Burfict is a tough player, so a minor injury isn’t going to keep him off-the-field (if he has a say), but, is it really advantageous for the Bengals to let him play while injured? It risks further injury, which could keep him off-the-field for an extended period of time, and also could limit or inhibit his play while remaining in on the action.

Burfict did miss a few tackles on Sunday in London, but he also led the team in tackles, with 10, in the overtime effort that yielded neither a win nor loss. Burfict now ranks 67th in the NFL in tackles (39), despite missing three games to start the year. Karlos Dansby (54) leads the Bengals in tackles, which ranks 11th in the league while Shawn Williams (48) ranks close behind at 20th.

But, Burfict’s total number of tackles in Sunday’s tie don't tell the whole story. His first tackle came after Jordan Reed picked up 12 yards. The next after a four yard run for Chris Thompson. There was also a tackle on Jamison Crowder after he picked up 10 yards and one on Vernon Davis after he netted 7 yards, which led to a touchdown. Burfict also had a foolish holding penalty on a third-and-1 play that saw Kirk Cousins throw an incomplete pass. But, Burfict's holding turned it into a Redskins first down.

So while the stats sound nice and it’s encouraging that Burfict led the team in tackles in London, there’s a lot more to his play than tackles recorded. None of his tackles were for a loss and only one yielded no gain by the Redskins’ offense.

Burfict isn’t playing up to the level we’ve grown used to from him, and, it’s not just because of his knee injury in Week 8. Though, that certainly didn’t help.

And, of course, when Burfict went down the “that’s karma” and “I’m happy to see him injured” Tweets came fast and furious. Here’s just a small sampling:

You get the point.

But, you know what these people don’t get? What karma is. By definition, according to Meriam-Webster dictionary, karma is the force created by a person's actions that is believed in Hinduism and Buddhism to determine what that person's next life will be like.

Unless these people believe Burfict died and came back to life this season, Burfict getting injured in 2016 would not be karma. I also am not sure that all of these people believe in Buddhism or Hinduism, but, I won’t assume.

Glad we got that out of the way.

Burfict has only played in five games so far this season, but, a bye week should be good for him to regroup and try to figure out what’s going wrong with his play this season and why it’s seemingly dropped off.

What do you think is going on with the Bengals linebacker? Is it the coaching change at the linebacker position? Is he trying too hard to play more safely and thinking too much? Is it the decline in play around him that in turn is also making his play decline? Discuss in the comments!