The Steelers are coming into the home stretch first in the AFC North standings, having just knocked the Bengals out of the race. Will they get to the winners circle?
The Steelers are having a good week. They maintained their recently recaptured position atop the AFC North and simultaneously made it impossible for the Bengals to make the playoffs. They played a whole game against the Bengals without Vontaze Burfict injuring a star player on alleged purpose. Though, Ladarius Green, because of course. Plus, they had five players make the Pro Bowl.
Congratulations to Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, Maurkice Pouncey, and David DeCastro on making the Pro Bowl. That’s 5 players. There are only 11 on the field. Half the offense is going to the Pro Bowl. Which makes you wonder why we have to wait until week 16 to clinch the division. Speaking of the AFC North …
The Steelers had a great come from behind victory against the Bengals Sunday. It looked rough for a little while with the Steelers unable to convert anything into seven points. Speaking of red zone problems, Chris Boswell tied the team record with 6 field goals in a game. And it’s a good thing he did too. Regardless, it was a gritty win against a solid team. Now beating the Ravens would seal the deal.
Roethlisberger had a decent game at 286 yards and a touchdown. Bell had 93 yards on the ground and 38 through the air. Eli Rogers and Ladarius Green stepped up with 70+ yards each, Rogers with a touchdown … the touchdown. Besides Boswell, the game was won by the defense. They got a sack and an interception. They held Dalton to 157 yards. Most importantly, they shut out the Bengals in the second half.
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The Ravens barely came away with a win against the Eagles but they did come away with the win. The Eagles had a strong 4th quarter and managed to get within a single point following a Wentz touchdown run. They elected to go for two, and the win. It’s not a good year for 2 point conversions. The Steelers could have told you that. The Ravens make it to next week.
Flacco had a mixed game with 206 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception. He also lost a fumble. The running backs put together 152 yards and a touchdown. But per usual, the defense really did the work for the Ravens. They had a sack and an interception but they held Wentz to 170 yards and no scores.
The Bengals, you may remember from a few paragraphs ago, lost to the Steelers Sunday. It was about what you’d expect. Cheap shots, trash talk, etc. But this is just not the same Bengals team as past years. The sociopathic levels of swagger that once seemed dangerous and tedious now feel hollow and undeserved. So they’re not going to the playoffs. But hey, they’re not the Browns.
Dalton had a tough game with only 157 yards and an interception. He did run one in though. The backs threw in another 75 yards. Brandon LaFell had 91 and has really emerged as a their best receiving threat with Green out. Geno Atkins had a sack but other than that not much statwise for the Bengals. Let draft preparations begin.
The Browns might actually finish this season with no wins. Looking back on it, it’s difficult to understand why they didn’t get a veteran free agent quarterback rather than play multiple quarterbacks in every game, and lose every game. Maybe it got to a point they just wanted that first pick, because the Browns can’t ruin the lives of enough talented young quarterbacks.
Maybe Robert Griffin can help them win one of the next two games. He did throw for 196 and ran for 48 yards and a touchdown. Not great but, given the circumstances, it’ll do. They gave up 5 sacks. LeSean McCoy ate their defense up. Rough year thus far … or decade … century.
So the Steelers play the Ravens next for all the AFC North marbles, unless the Ravens win, then they’ll play the Browns after that for all the marbles depending on how the Ravens do next week. The Bengals play the Texans next. The Browns play the Chargers. See you next week.
All stats via NFL.com