JuJu Smith-Schuster dances to the Bengals logo, despite the backlash, before “Monday Night Football”

© Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

JuJu Smith-Schuster was heavily criticized after dancing to the Bills logo before losing to the Steelers’ Week 14 in Buffalo. Bills’ cornerback Jordan Poyer said seeing the Pittsburgh receiver dancing to his team’s logo gave his teammates an extra motivation to beat the Steelers.

Despite the national reaction following last Sunday’s action, Smith-Schuster danced to the Bengals’ logo before Monday’s game in Cincinnati. The Steelers, who lost two after an 11-0 start, need a win over the Bengals to secure their first AFC North title of 2017.

Smith-Schuster’s actions before Monday night’s game should come as no surprise. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin did not buy the narrative that Smith-Schuster’s preliminary action last Sunday contributed to the Steelers’ 26-15 loss.

“I doubt, knowing the team that coaches that team, Sean McDermott, I’m sure they were motivated in all the right ways,” Tomlin said, “and that had very little relevance to how that game was played. “.

Tomlin, on the other hand, pointed to the alarming rise in Steelers’ declines as one of those who contributed to the first two losses of the season in Pittsburgh. Tomlin also hopes Pittsburgh’s hurried game will take hold Monday night after the Steelers rushed for just 68, 21 and 47 yards in his last three games.

“Our focus hasn’t changed there,” Tomlin said of his team’s desire to improve the running game. “We’re a few weeks focused there and we’ll keep working. We haven’t necessarily seen the fruits of that work, and some of that can be traced back to some of the short weeks we’ve had.”

The Steelers will be without James Conner, who faces a four-point injury. His replacement is Benny Snell, the second-year runner-up, who rushed for 98 yards on 21 transports in the Pittsburgh victory in Week 12 of 2019 over the Bengals.