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.

Dead Black bodies are a growth business (and business is good).

michael brown_autopsy_

And we’re back.

I needed some time off and I took off. No mystery to it. I’ve written about dead Black bodies that only came to my attention when they ceased being live Black bodies. I could have lived a happy life blissfully ignorant of Trayvon Martin, Jonathan Ferrell, Justin Davis, Renisha McBride, Hadiya Pendleton, Antonio Smith or Michael Brown’s existence. Now they are part of mine. Despite never knowing them or meeting a part of them lives on in me and their restless spirits travel with me even as I wait for the next name to be added to theirs.

I could write every day for every last day of my life on dead Black bodies bleeding out in the street and never run out of material and I’m tired of it. It makes me angry and then it makes me depressed and then it makes me want to lie in bed all day long with the curtains drawn until its night again. How many words have I written over the past 22 years about dead Black kids where only the names and locations change but the details stay all too similar? I don’t know the exact number, but I know it’s been far too many.

Michael Brown and Antonio Smith were the last dead Black bodies that pushed me to and then over the edge. Ishmael Reed once declared “writin’ is fightin’ “, but these were the murders that made me drop my gloves. It’s not that I’m never gonna stop writing or fighting. How can I when I know I’m not going to throw a brick through anybody’s window or burn down anyone’s store or spit in the eye of any cop no matter how much I might want to.

You don’t have to smell the putrid funk of dead bodies to be sickened by it. I’m tired of writing worthless words which do nothing but make one man feel a bit better about the things he can’t stop or change.   Words are the only bullets in a writer’s gun, but depending on what the subject we’re drawn to and compelled to talk about we can fire for a while before we start shooting blanks. Dead Black boys provides a lot of ammo and Lord, do I wish I could put this gun down and never pick it up again.

Got no justice.  Can't rest in peace.

Got no justice. Can’t rest in peace.

Yet I know I will.   I always do.  In six weeks or six days or six hours there will be another Mike Brown and another and another after that.  Dead Black bodies is a growth industry.  I’m never going to run out.   No matter what else draws me away the certainty of cold hard steel tearing through warm soft flesh will draw me back to this subject time and again.

It will make me angry and it will make me mad and it will make me so depressed I’ll want to lie all day in a dark room with the curtains drawn and I’ll be thankful for only one thing: that’s it’s not my son or daughter.

I’ll pray it’s never my son lying face down in the street or my daughter staring up at the stars with dead eyes wide open that see nothing. I’ll pray for that even as curse living in a sick, sick, SICK world where any parent anywhere should ever have to pray “Lord, don’t let it be mine, let it be someone else”

Maybe tomorrow nobody will die.  Maybe nowhere in the world no trembling hostage will have some sadistic bastard cut his head off.   Maybe a Black teenager won’t get blown away with his hands raised hoping to save his life from a White cop determined to take it.   Maybe no woman will be raped or beaten or strangled.   Maybe there won’t be any war anywhere because maybe both sides decide to take a day off.

Maybe.   And maybe I’ll just wake up and wait for the next batch of bad news to come looking for me.

 

Dead Again.

Michael Brown

Left in the street like a dead damn dog.

Michael Brown was supposed to start college today.  Supposed to.  He didn’t make it.  He wasn’t absent.  He was dead.

Another young Black man dropped by the cops shouldn’t be any sort of big newsflash by now. Like celebrity divorces and mass shooting episodes, fatal encounters between cops and Black males more often results in a dead Black male than a dead cop.

What makes Michael Brown’s killing any different? Nothing, really. It’s actually sort of ordinary.

Cop stops an unarmed teenager for reasons only the two of them (and potential witnesses) know.

Something happens. Maybe the teenager says “the magic word” that sets the cop off? We don’t know. The official story isn’t sounding very official so far. Everything is still being investigated. Or everything is being covered up. You decide.

Why would Brown struggle with a police officer days before he was supposed to start college? Seems like an odd time to show a secret death wish for suicide by cop.

No mother should have to bury a murdered son

As Brown’s body laid in the street, a puddle of blood trickling down the street, the excuse was the cops (all 15 departments that were involved) were processing the scene, gathering evidence, and waiting for their Krispy Kremes to arrive. What the corpse of Michael Brown baking on the hot August asphalt said to the hundreds of neighbors, onlookers, parents and children was, Look at me. Look at what they did to me. They could do this to you too. Anytime they want.

There is a LOT of information missing from this story, but the insensitive and inept way the Ferguson cops have handled matters couldn’t be much more tone-deaf. If there’s looting and pillaging going on the police practically dared the community not to respond to their provocation.

Leave a dead kid on the street like a dog for hours, but hurry up and get the SWAT teams, riot guns and dogs ready ’cause them Black folks might get uppity!

All the right things are being said and all the now standard pacification protocols are being implemented. Call in the FBI to aid in the investigation. Politicians and public officials will make pleas for peace and calm while they put the home number of the governor on speed dial should the National Guard need to be mobilized when the savages stop burning cars and looting liquor stores and start burning cop cars with cops still in them and looting White neighborhoods.

It would seem the hacktavist activist group Anonymous has gotten wind of what’s going down in Ferguson, Missouri. They aren’t too cool about it either.”

It’s worth sharing.

Twitter pic by Raheem DeVaughn

Greetings, world. We are Anonymous.

“On August 8th in Ferguson, Missouri, the 17-year-old and unarmed Mike Brown was shot several times and killed by an officer of the Ferguson Police Department. His body was left to lie in a pool of blood in the sweltering heat for hours while 15 police departments militarized the area against protestors, sealed the roads leading to Ferguson in a vain attempt to prevent protestors from reaching the city.

“The police has clearly crossed a line in the sand….

“To the good people of Ferguson, take heart and take your streets. You are not alone. We will support you in every way possible. Occupy every, square inch of your city. Demand justice….

“To the Ferguson Police Department and any other jurisdictions who are deployed to the protests, we are watching you very closely. If you abuse, harass, or harm in any way the protestors in Ferguson, we will take every web-based asset of your departments and governments offline. That is not a threat. It is a promise. Attacking the protestors will result in the release of personal information on every, single member of the Ferguson Police Department… We will seize all your databases & emails pools and dump them on the Internet.

“This is your first and last warning….

“The time has come for more than simple justice for these atrocities…. Until justice prevails, hack and protest will replace it.

“Operation Ferguson engaged.

“We are Anonymous. We are legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget.

“Ferguson, expect us!”

If Anonymous says it, they probably mean it. Known for their sense of humor they are not. Anonymous adds an interesting twist to the story, but I don’t believe they are going to find justice for Mike Brown by threatening to crash into the cops’ computers and unearth all the dirt.

That sort of threat has never slowed cops from killing any Black man that makes them feel uneasy.

Riots are terrible. Looting is terrible. Setting stuff on fire is terrible.

It’s also terrible when yet another Black man has yet another fatal encounter with the police.

Reference Sean Bell. Or Amadou Diallo. Or Oscar Grant. Or Patrick Dorismond. Or Jonathan Ferrell. Or Eric Garner.

Or Mike Brown.

We’ve been here before. We’ll be here again. Change the name, but the game remains the same. Oh, we’ll get hyped for a while, but then we’ll calm back down and wonder what’s on TV tonight? It’s easier to get people hyped over non-events like the state of Queen Bey and Jay-Z’s marriage than killed by cops due to Living While Black or the rape of a 16-yr-old who is raped a second time when her assailants go viral with video.

Ain’t we got NO shame? Or priorities?

There is a sickness killing our souls like Ebola is killing Africans. Maybe we’ll notice it at some point. Probably we won’

Martin Luther King noted a riot is the language of the unheard.

Can you hear them now?

Mike Brown was supposed to start college today.  His family can start planning a funeral instead.