Steelers on Lions’ late scuffle: ‘That’s dirty’

James Hawkins
The Detroit News

Allen Park — The Lions and Steelers continue to play through the whistle off the field.

A day after Lions defensive tackle Akeem Spence accused the Steelers of playing dirty in Sunday night’s 20-15 loss, Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey fired back at A’Shawn Robinson and Spence for firing off the snap on a kneel-down play with 48 seconds left in the game.

“You have to show sportsmanship,” Pouncey told ESPN on Monday. “You just lost the game. We're taking a knee. What are you trying to prove right now? If anybody's playing (dirty), that's dirty (expletive) right there. They literally tried to attack me, come off 100 miles per hour. I ain't going for that.

“Do it during the game. You want to do it while we're taking a knee? It's a general rule of sportsmanship. You don't do that type of (expletive).”

According to Spence, he told Steelers lineman David DeCastro before the play he was going to come off the ball like he would normally do.

But after Robinson and Spence both hit Pouncey, it triggered a skirmish that led to Pouncey delivering a shot to Robinson’s face mask, Robinson punching Steelers guard Ramon Foster twice in the helmet and three Lions players — cornerback D.J. Hayden and defensive ends Jeremiah Valoaga and Cornelius Washington — running onto the field from the bench area.

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Spence said during the game the Steelers were taking “head shots” at the Lions and were chop blocking him in the legs.

Pouncey dismissed Spence’s accusation of dirty plays by saying, “Go watch the film. They were getting balled on.” He added hitting an opposing lineman during a kneeling play is dirty enough to warrant a suspension.

“I don't even play dirty like that, but once someone does some cheap (expletive) like that, that's some bull(expletive). I can't respect a man like that," Pouncey said. "Knowing we're just about to snap the ball and stand there and you want to fire off? That's player safety. It's a general, common thing. What if I just fired off the ball and cut him?”

Lions coach Jim Caldwell said Monday that all four Lions — Robinson, Hayden, Valoaga and Washington — will be disciplined internally and could also face punishment, likely in the form of a fine, from the league.

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