Steelers, Bengals try to downplay rivalry tension

Published 11:09 pm Saturday, September 17, 2016

Associated Press

PITTSBURGH — The Cincinnati Bengals insist they’re past the meltdown that cost them so dearly in a playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers last January.

Yet nine months later, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick still can’t quite believe it.

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Yes, that really was Cincinnati linebacker Vontaze Burfict belting Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown high, hard and late to draw a flag.

Yes, that really was cornerback Adam Jones drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after being goaded by Steelers outside linebackers coach Joey Porter.

Yes, that really was Pittsburgh kicker Chris Boswell kicking a 35-yard field goal with 14 seconds left to give Pittsburgh an 18-16 win .

“I watched that film, and every play it was something,” Kirkpatrick said. “Every play. It was to the point where I was like, ‘We really were doing that?’ But hey, we know what kind of game it is, so we know what we have to go out there and do.”

One in which both sides are trying to downplay the noticeable rise in tension during Cincinnati’s ascension to consistent contender as the Bengals prepare to visit Pittsburgh today.