The source of the recent feud between these teams can be traced back to when Vontaze Burfict injured Le’Veon Bell, and the Steelers thought it was on purpose. Vince Williams escalated it by threatening Burfict on twitter.
It all reached its climax during the Bengals Wild Card game against the Steelers in 2015. The Steelers were driving for a potential game-winning field goal when Burfict hit Antonio Brown with a violent shoulder-to-helmet hit that warranted a flag.
While the Steelers were attending to the injured Brown, Joey Porter was on the field antagonizing the Bengals’ players, and Adam Jones drew a flag for shoving Porter. Porter had no reason being on the field though, and the NFL added a rule during the offseason that would’ve made his presence a foul as well.
The Steelers and Bengals’ games became the talk of the national media after that. Meanwhile, the Bengals began talking about how important composure is. This makes preparation for this week all the more important for the Bengals as Marvin Lewis.
“[Staying in character] is really important,” Lewis said to the media on Wednesday. “Just stay within ourselves and keep playing. For whatever reason, there’s an excitement that builds up (for this game). We just have to stay within (ourselves) and play. We know it’s an important game for both teams.”
He also added his advice for keeping players from getting too excited for the game.
“I just tell them not to listen to (the media) as much as they can (laughs). It’s just a football game, and we have to go play.”
Still, Andy Dalton doesn’t see the need to change anything for the Steelers.
“That’s how you go into every game. You want to play your game — do what you want to do,” Dalton said about staying composed. “It’s obviously how the game is going. The flow of the game will determine how things get called. But at the end of the day, you want to be who you are.”
“I feel like the city, and everybody puts more into it (the rivalry) than what it is. It’s a game — a division game — it counts just the same. Obviously, we have a lot of guys that haven’t played in these type of games. At the end of the day, it’s just another football game.”
Of course, Dalton doesn’t get involved as much as other players. George Iloka has seen some of the action fairly up while being on the same side of the ball as Burfict. He was asked if playing the Steelers was getting together with a brother that gets on your nerves by Geoff Hobson of the Bengals’ website. Iloka responded:
“They're not brothers. It's that cousin that your parents invite over that you're not really cool with, that's what that is. They're there for Thanksgiving dinner and you're like, ‘Man, why did you all invite them this year?’”
Still, the best quote probably came from the soft-spoken Jake Fisher when asked what it was like playing in Pittsburgh:
Asked OT Jake Fisher to describe playing @ Heinz Field: It's dark & gloomy. It's Pittsburgh, feels like every time we go there it's raining— Elise Jesse (@Elise_JesseWLWT) October 18, 2017
A win this week would mean a lot for the Bengals, and they are handling it their own way. Hopefully we see a drama free win for the Bengals on Sunday.