CINCINNATI — As Pittsburgh Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster talked to reporters Monday night about his vicious block on Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict, fellow receiver Antonio Brown yelled “karma” repeatedly, then said “Touchdown Brown” will pay Smith-Schuster’s eventual fine.
Asked if that comment was related to Burfict, Brown said, “I ain’t talking about nobody. Karma is karma. Karma is in life. You do the wrong things, you get the wrong things out of it.”
But Brown did approve of Smith-Schuster’s block, which epitomized the viciousness of several hits in Monday’s Steelers-Bengals matchup.
With 7:10 remaining in Pittsburgh’s eventual 23-20 win, Smith-Schuster leveled Burfict as the linebacker pursued Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell on a 12-yard gain, then stood over Burfict as he lay motionless. Smith-Schuster told reporters he “messed up” with the taunting, because he cost his team 15 yards.
“I was just playing to the whistle,” Smith-Schuster said. “I didn’t mean to stand over him. I was trying to get a big block for Le’Veon Bell for him to get upfield. The unsportsmanlike conduct is not me. I shouldn’t have done that. I hope he’s OK and I hope he gets better.”
Brown offered his take on the block.
“I like that. I like that,” Brown said.
The Bengals retaliated with safety George Iloka‘s helmet shot on Brown’s 6-yard touchdown in the back of the end zone with 3:55 to play.
“The guy just left his feet and hit me in the head. Karma for him too. Karma,” Brown said.
Brown finished the contest with eight catches, 101 yards and a score, despite nursing a toe injury that forced him to miss two practices. Brown had been a game-time decision.
“I was just grateful I was able to get through the game,” Brown said.