On the first drive of the Steelers' 29-14 victory, Burfict was in the pile after a short Le'Veon Bell run. The linebacker then appeared to kick at the facemask of Pittsburgh fullback Roosevelt Nix as the pileup untangled. There was no flag on the play.
"I guess he said he didn't see it," Bell said of the official after the game, via The Cincinnati Enquirer. "So, we had to continue playing football."
The Steelers' running back later come out stronger on Twitter:
Bengals coach Marvin Lewis told reporters he believed Burfict's kick was being "generally overblown."
"I think [Nix] pushes Vontaze back after the play," Lewis said, per ESPN's Katherine Terrell, "the official is right there and warned [Nix] to not do that."
Burfict has been the center of the Steelers' ire for hits on Antonio Brown and Bell in previous seasons. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Burfict is not expected to face a suspension for his latest antics, but a fine is possible. Burfict was suspended for the first three games of the 2017 season for a preseason hit on Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman. In 2016, Burfict began the year suspended for a hit on Brown in the playoffs.
"Yeah, it is a rivalry game. You kind of expect that," Bell said of the heated fued between the Steelers and Bengals. "It is what it is. I just don't like when guys come and do dirty plays. It is okay to play tough and try to hit guys hard in the course of the play, that's fine, but I don't like unnecessary roughness or things that happen after the play.
"My fullback got kicked in the face. That's just not football to me. I don't think that's a respectable play. For me, I just like to play respectable football. Whether you play tough or whatever it is, within the play, it is all fine. After the play, unnecessary things, trying to hurt people, I don't like that."