Pardon me if this article meanders, for I am extremely sleep deprived. So much so, that I can no longer tell if I am awake or if I am dreaming.
This mental fog started many months ago when my son was born. As any parent of a colicky baby will tell you: you simply never sleep. Ever. Adding to my zombie-like state, a few weeks ago my four-year old daughter started having nightmares. Finally, on Saturday night, my neighbor was out of town and his teenage son had a party; cutting to the chase, three nouns best describe the events that transpired after midnight: spotlights, police dogs, and pellet guns. So, yes, by the time that the Bengals kicked off, I was not sure what was real and what was sleep-deprived hallucinations.
Take for example, I could have sworn that I saw Vontaze Burfict launch himself directly at Ben Roethlisberger’s ankle. My brain informed me that Burfict was up to his usual shenanigans (see picture above: Burfict twisting Cam Newton’s ankle), but apparently I must have been seeing things, because the referees did not throw a flag on the play. Furthermore, the erroneous nature of my visions were confirmed when the talking heads in the broadcast booth not only skipped over the infraction, they actually applauded Burfict for being such an exemplary player.
You know that dream where you are running down a never-ending hallway? That is exactly how this game was beginning to feel.
I stood up, stretched, and rubbed my eyes in an effort to shake myself awake. Alas, I kept seeing Burfict pushing people after the whistle, when in reality any and all penalty flags were replaced with glowing admiration for Burfict from the broadcast crew. It was when Vontaze Burfict kicked David DeCastro in the head that I finally realized that I was in fact still asleep. Because there was no way that the officials could miss such a blatant personal foul. Thankfully, the commentators reminded me of how wrong I was and just how great of a person that Burfict truly is.
Yep, that never-ending hallway is now filled with galloping, purple unicorns.
After the game was over, I read a few tweets where Bengals fans were averring how lucky the Steelers were that Andy Dalton got injured when he tried to tackle Stephon Tuitt (after Dalton had thrown an interception to him). Once again, I must have been dreaming, because this was the first game that the Bengals had been without their signal-caller; whereas, Ben Roethlisberger had started and finished an entire game only seven times in the entire season. But, yeah, the Steelers are the “lucky” ones.
Talk about living in a fantasy world.
Later that night, as I was goofing around on a playoff generator, I must have fallen asleep and dreamed of a situation where the Steelers could actually earn the second seed in the AFC playoffs. In this dream, if the Steelers win out (completely within reason), and if the Bengals lose out (possible), and if the Broncos were to some how, some way lose to the Chargers (unlikely, but not unheard of), the Steelers would enter the playoffs as the second seed. I know, I know, that is just the unicorns filling my head with fluff. Because, there is no way that something as asinine as that could ever really come to fruition. Next thing you will be telling me is that Vontaze Burfict is some sort of cheap-shot artist. Ha, ha, ha… that was a funny one, Rainbow Dash.