Last year’s Wild-Card matchup between the Steelers and the Bengals resembled a WWE street fight more than it did a football game. All it needed was some steel chairs.
Pittsburgh and Cincinnati are set to renew their ugly rivalry Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field. While the Steelers ultimately won that game, 18-16, they also lost receiver Antonio Brown for their ensuing playoff contest because of a dirty, helmet-t0-helmet hit from Vontaze Burfict. That hit might remain on the minds of many Steelers, but coach Mike Tomlin said he doesn’t think his team will get too worked up this time around.
“I thought largely our guys handled themselves appropriately and didn’t get consumed by the emotions that comprised the recent elements of the matchup, and I don’t anticipate anything changing this time around,” Tomlin said, according to Triblive.com’s Andrew Erickson. “We realize to win the game, you can’t beat yourself, so that’s something that’s a part of our everyday culture in terms of how we approach our business.”
Last year, both teams did their best to beat themselves. Pittsburgh racked up 10 penalties accounting for a whopping 142 penalty yards, while the Bengals racked up a modest eight penalties for 79 yards. Both teams became too incensed with rage to focus on the task at hand, scoring more points.
That can’t happen this time around, especially with so much on the line in this pivotal Week 2 contest. Both teams enter the game 1-0, which means a victory in Pittsburgh Sunday will give one team an early leg up in the AFC North race.