Things got very heated per-usual in yesterday’s Steelers-Bengals game, with many exclaiming that it was taken to a dangerous place with two very controversial hits being committed in particular. Juju Smith-Schuster has been suspended for one game for a vicious 4th-quarter block on linebacker Vontaze Burfict in addition to Bengals safety George Iloka being suspended for a game for his end zone hit on Antonio Brown in the fourth quarter.
JuJu Smith-Schuster absolutely crushes Burfict pic.twitter.com/Tlf2nLb2bw
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) December 5, 2017
Unreal. Bengals respond with a brutal hit from S George Iloka on Steelers WR Antonio Brown. pic.twitter.com/DoLMgjHuqi
— Clint Lamb (@ClintRLamb) December 5, 2017
5 years ago, both of these hits probably wouldn’t even be talked about (outside of the typical Steelers-Bengals context). I do think that Schuster’s block was a pretty dangerous one in how he reacted towards it, while I think Iloka’s was a typical safety hit that used to be common place in the NFL. With all this, I think the NFL put down pretty fair consequences. Both hits were dangerous and something that the league REALLY doesn’t want moving forward, and they reacted as such. Many even thought of the hits on a stronger scale, Jon Gruden in particular:
Hits like these are going to be punished harder and harder as we move on with the ever-changing NFL climate, so players will have to act accordingly to avoid similar suspensions.