How Burfict and the Bengals Bungled In the Jungle

Vontaze Burfict: It’s no fun to watch a man meltdown in public.

It is a testament to the power of the NFL that on a weekend of mostly lousy football games they can come up with a compelling story when two players choose at the last minute to show their butts and turn a memorable win into a catastrophic loss.

Meet the 2015 Cincinnati Bengals, but wave “bye-bye” because they pulled out a choke job of epic proportions as they gave away a game they had won to their hated rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers by a score of 18-16.

I can take bad football…to an extent. The Chiefs/Texans game was nothing but bad football. The Steelers/Bengals was bad, then it got good, then it got crazy, then it went right off the rails with some of the STUPIDEST football I’ve seen in a loooong while.

The Bengals had come all the way back from a 15-point deficit and all they had to do was run out the clock.  Pittsburgh was missing starting QB Ben Rothelisberger after a sack delivered by linebacker Vontaze Burfict.   Jeremy Hill coughed up the ball on a fumble and a few moments Burfict’s big play was negated when he went headhunting for Steelers receiver Antonio Brown.  That got the Bengals flagged for a 15-yard penalty and then cornerback Adam Jones added a second unsportsmanlike penalty thus turning a 50 yard field goal into a 35 yard which kicker Chris Boswell put through for an improbable win for the visitors.

Burfict and Jones were morons, but so were the officials whose non-call of  Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier helmet-to-helmet kill shot to Bengals running back Giovani Bernard in the 1st half.  There’s NO excuse for the Bengals melting down at the end and giving the Steelers 30 YARDS in personal fouls. That’s just stupid. At the very least the Bungles should cut Jones loose and send Burfict to anger management classes.

“Now Taze, make plays, but don’t do anything stupid out there, ‘kay?”

Burfict is a wrecking ball on the field. He causes havoc on opposing offenses. He sacked and knocked Big Ben out of the game and made an interception. You want him out there and you need him out there, but he has to control the fury he plays with or he’s gonna get flagged and cost his team a game.

If they can’t block you, they’ll bait you. Which is what happened.

Football is as much a mental as it is a physical game. As we’ve seen before Mike Tomlin isn’t above playing head games to get an edge. Steelers coach Mike Munchak scrapping with Bengals’ Reggie Nelson on the sidelines?  Head game. Another Steelers coach Joey Porter coming out on the field (and you know he was yapping) and baiting Jones into losing it?  Head game.

Ask Bill Belicheat if you don’t believe me. Head games work!

Even injured starting quarterback Andy Dalton knows how badly Burfict’s brain cramp cost the Bengals.

“You can’t have stupid penalties at times like that,” Dalton said. “Vontaze is obviously a great player for us. He’s done a lot of really good things. So, I’m not saying he’s hurting this team. But the penalties are.”

The Steelers didn’t choke and lose their poise in the clutch and the Bungles did. Which is why Pittsburgh has so many SB rings and Cincinnati has so few–like none.   It is a true blessing for Starvin’ Marvin Lewis to play for Mike Brown, a cheap skate owner who runs his team like a corner carry-out.

You think  Jones would keep around a coach with an 0-7 record in the playoffs after 12 years? Nah. Brown should fire Lewis because he can’t close. He won’t. Same old sorry ass Bengals. Lewis and Brown deserve each other.

Jones is a moron, but he’s a moron with Super Bowl rings and the NFL’s most valuable franchise. What’s Brown got but a plastic ring he found in the bottom of a Cracker Jack box?

The Bengals had pulled off one of their greatest comebacks in a critical game with a backup QB. They had it right there. Hill’s fumble was costly, but the dumb and frankly, selfish plays of Burfict and Jones made it fatal.

You cannot lose your cool or go headhunting at that point of a game and hand Pittsburgh 30 free yards. Play smart, play in control, win the game and send the Steelers to the showers. That’s all it took and they blew it.

This one is on the Bengals. Win as a team and lose as a team. They lost because they lost their cool when it mattered most to keep it.

Hey, Marvin? Mike Tomlin owns your butt. Again.

R U Ready 4 Some Football? (The 49ers Aren’t)

Alex Smith: Back for another season of Suck.

The NFL lockout is over.  Too bad nobody told the San Francisco 49ers.

I don’t get stoked anymore by free agency.  It’s nice to bring in some sexy stud to make your team look pretty but after the sorry experience of watching Nate Clements punked by Roddy White on a regular basis, I’m glad he took his sorry butt elsewhere.  Unfortunately for me its only 100 miles from Cincinnati to Columbus, so I can smell the stench of him stinking up the Bengals all season long.  Oh, joy.

My bold pre-season prediction is the 49ers will circle the drain in 2011.   I pick them to finish last in the dead zone that is the NFC West.   The pricey wide receiver Michael Crabtree is already on the shelf (what a shock) with a foot injury and will miss his third consecutive pre-season in a three-year career., Gore is holding out for money he probably doesn’t deserve and Alex Smith is back as our starting QB and will be taking snaps from…errr…Eric Heitmann? (nope), David Baas?  (nope)…TONY WRAGGE!

Never mind who snaps him the damn ball, why in the name of all that’s unholy is the supreme El Busto that is Alex Smith back to prove for a fifth consecutive year he can not be a starting quarterback in the NFL?   How many pictures of Jed York and that sheep does Smith have anyway?  It has been proven beyond doubt the 49ers made one of the worst decisions in drafting history in 2005 when they selected Smith as the overall Number One pick over Aaron Rodgers.    Rodgers went on to run Brett Favre ancient ass out of Green Bay and won a Super Bowl.

Six years are forever in pro football and there isn’t another team in the league that has stuck with a quarterback who reeks of EPIC FAIL the way Smith does.  Even the Raiders finally declared JaMarcus Russell dead to them and after they cut his fat ass loose, nobody even brought him in a try-out.   You have to be totally incompetent as a football player to go from a top pick to completely worthless, but Russell did it.   Smith continues to hold on like an embedded tick.

What has Alex Smith ever done except make 49ers weep uncontrollably when they see a Joe Montana or Steve Young highlight on the NFL Network?

The defense will need a new nose tackle, free safety,  cornerback and inside linebacker along with the pass-rushing stud we still don’t have.   I’m starting to think a 7-9 season might be as good as it gets for this team and over .500 would be a gift from the gods.

Oh well, at least we got a new old kicker to replace the old retired kicker.

It’s been said the lockout would hurt teams like the 49ers more than most.  It hurts even more when the Bengals have made more moves than the 49ers.  Yes, they brought in a bust with Ohio State homey Clements, but they improved by canceling the Chad Ochocinco & Terrell Owens “Who’s The Bigger Asshole?”  Show, so garbage in, garbage out.

In life it is said there are people who watch what happens, people who make things happen and there’s the 49ers who get run over by the teams trying to actually put a competitive product on the field and lie there wondering what the hell just happened?

Looks like I picked the wrong time to start getting interested in the season.  The 49ers (ha-ha) brain trust seems to not have gotten the memo the lock out is over.  It’s okay to try to improve your team.

Turn on ESPN and watch the crawl at the bottom of the screen and you’ll see the difference between teams trying to get to the Super Bowl and the ones like the 49ers, Browns and Raiders who can’t get out of their own way.   The Philadelphia Eagles traded a quarterback who couldn’t beat out Mike Vick to Arizona for a starting cornerback and a second round draft pick, then turned around and signed the most coveted free agent available and added Cullen Jenkins, one of the best defensive tackles on the board.

Meanwhile, my older brothers team,  the Raiders,  have done almost nothing, my younger brother’s team, the Browns,  signed a few pieces of scrap and spare parts.  My Niners?  They signed an old kicker to replace the old kicker who just retired.

The NFL is a league where if you want to try to you make smart moves off the field you can reap the benefits on the field.   First things first.   You have to have an ownership and front office all in to win.   The 49ers no longer do.

It’s not even the losing that bothers me so much.  I don’t like it, but I’ve seen so much of over the past 17 years, I’m used to it.   It’s the not even bother to try that drives me nuts.  It  makes me wonder why, besides nostalgia, do I still consider myself a San Francisco 49ers fan?

Gimme some hope.   At this point I’m desperate enough to settle for window dressing.

Nostalgia only goes so far. It's time for results.