The Steelers won against the Bengals Sunday which makes them the kings of the AFC North right now. A lot of season left to play but the Steelers stand on top.
The early season de facto AFC North Championship was played last week. I don’t have to tell you who won. It’s a great time to be a Steelers fan. Meanwhile the Ravens, pure through default to the record first, are number 2 in the division. It’s likely the Bengals would beat them in a matchup but the record reigns supreme. The Browns remain the Browns.
The Steelers beat the Bengals 24-16 in Pittsburgh on a dark and rainy Sunday afternoon. It was another solid test for the Steelers. They continued to be without the likes of Bell, Wheaton, Green, and others. The offense was slowed by the weather and the core of the team, Ben and Brown, struggled. Yet they still won. They’re clearly the team to beat in the AFC North right now.
Roethlisberger threw for 269 yards and 3 touchdowns but also 2 interceptions and finished the half below 50%. Meanwhile Brown only caught 4 passes for 39 yards. The James/Grimble tight end combination performed well with 2 touchdowns, Coates can catch the long ball, and Williams defies age. The defense did well against the run and put a cap on big plays but passing yards and a lack of sacks are a concern.
They have two wins and no losses. You can’t argue with that. However, as the season progresses they’ll like find themselves stuck at third unless some things improve. They barely beat the bills on the strength of classic Flacco throw it as far as you can and see what happens prayer and almost lost to the Browns, but they are the Browns. Despite the comeback they did not look ready to play for much of the game.
It was typical Ravens stuff. Flacco threw for over 300. He had a pair of touchdowns and a pair of interceptions. Wallace is doing pretty well in Baltimore so far pulling in 2 touchdowns. Dennis Pitta had over 100 yards. The defense made some big plays but gave up a lot of yards … to Cleveland. They’ve not been impressive but a win is a win. And the Steelers would agree this week.
Déjà vu? Yes we’ve talked about this. It was an AFC North week. The Bengals, as you may have guessed, lost to the Steelers. They both played an occasionally ugly game but the Bengals were just a bit more ugly, especially in the red zone. The defense did a decent job and the pass game was on point but the run game, 3rd down, and red zone were problems against the Steelers.
Dalton continues to perform well throwing for 366 yards and a touchdown. AJ Green was held to 2 catches. The running backs had a bad game rushing but did do well catching short passes and making yards out of it. They did a good job on Brown, maybe too good as it opened up the field for everyone else. The rain was such an influence it’s tough to get a feel for the team. But they did lose.
Déjà vu à nouveau? Thank you Google Translate. It was so Browns. It was just so Browns. They went up by 20 immediately and then they gave up a defensive two-point conversion. It was all bad from there. All bad. The Browns drove to the 16 still up by 1 in the 4th. Then tackle for loss, penalty, missed 52 yard FG. The Ravens got a pair of field goals and with Browns gave up an interception on the final drive.
As far as brights spots, there was the first half. Joe Haden got a pair of interceptions and continues to be a great corner. The run defense also did a solid job. Isaiah Cromwell had a nice game, though mostly on 1 run. Regardless of the stats. They just blew it. They have a ways to go. They’re clearly at the bottom. But if you are a Browns fan, there were a couple positives in there.
As Big Ben said after the Steelers win, as reported by Chris Adamski of TribLive.com, “I told the team afterwards, it wasn’t pretty … but a win is pretty, especially in the AFC North.” Amen from a Ben. Next up the Steelers have the Eagles. Meanwhile, the Bengals play the Broncos, the Ravens play the Jaguars, and the Browns play the Dolphins.