Steelers get Bengals in playoffs, and Marcus Gilbert is 'very excited'

CLEVELAND -- The last Pittsburgh Steelers-Cincinnati Bengals matchup ended with nearly $140,000 in player fines for on-field fighting and verbal spats on social media later that night.

These two can break the 1-1 season tie in the playoffs this weekend in Cincinnati. Denver's 27-20 win over San Diego secured this delicious 3-vs-6 AFC Wild Card matchup.

"If we get them, I'll be very excited," right tackle Marcus Gilbert said after the Steelers' 28-12 win in Cleveland.

Gilbert was vocal in response to Adam Jones after that 33-20 Steelers win on Dec. 13, saying "All I want for Christmas is the Bengals" and the playoffs are where the Bengals "choke." The rivalry had reached a boiling point with a pregame scuffle between both teams, which was fueled by the physicality during the Bengals' 16-10 win in November. Vontaze Burfict appeared to celebrate Le'Veon Bell's MCL tear during that game, prompting Steelers linebacker Vince Williams to threaten Burfict on social media afterward.

Two months later, as both teams have secured a playoff spot, Gilbert said he won't back down. He would have been excited to play anyone but he'd "love to" play Cincinnati.

"Obviously I wouldn't stand down by it -- I'm going to embrace that challenge," Gilbert said. "I was looking forward to it all along. If we get them, I'll be very excited."

Winning twice in Cincinnati in the same year will be difficult. But Andy Dalton's extended absence, with AJ McCarron starting the last three weeks, has to be a positive for Pittsburgh.

The Steelers defense picked off McCarron twice in the last matchup. They'll have to do it again, unless the offense takes over.

"We've got the best offense in football," Gilbert said ."I think we're going to ride this wave."