Since their Week 4 tilt in Baltimore, the Browns and Ravens have moved in opposite directions. Cleveland dropped their second consecutive game to the Seahawks on Sunday, while the Ravens improved to 4-2 with a victory over the winless Bengals.
On Sunday night, the Steelers picked up a huge victory over the Chargers in Los Angeles, limiting a fairly talented offense to just 17 points. Pittsburgh is now tied with the Browns at second place in the division behind the Ravens.
Ravens defeat Bengals: 23-17
For the Ravens, this was yet another unspectacular victory but an important one nonetheless. The final score isn’t exactly indicative of how competitive the game was, either, as the Ravens controlled the tempo and time of possession for nearly the entire contest. Andy Dalton’s rushing touchdown late in the fourth quarter closed the gap but unless they converted an onside kick, the game was over.
Defensively, this was by far the team’s best performance since the season opener against Miami. The Bengals aren’t exactly a high-powered offense, but it’s encouraging to see improvement nonetheless. Josh Bynes, L.J. Fort, and Chuck Clark performed well in larger roles. QB Lamar Jackson became the first player in the super bowl era to throw for 200+ yards through the air and rush for 150+ yards on the ground. Jackson completed 21/33 passes for 236 yards and turned 19 carries into 152 rushing yards, plus a touchdown.
Defining stat: 77 plays run
What’s next: @ Seattle Seahawks - Sunday, October 20 (4:25 PM)
The Bengals once again dropped a one-possession game, falling to 0-6 on the year. However, despite what the final score may suggest, it never truly felt as though they had a legit chance to steal this game away. Following a special teams touchdown at the beginning of the game, Cincinnati didn’t find the endzone again until late in the fourth quarter despite crossing midfield multiple times. The Ravens completely stifled the Bengals rushing attack, limiting Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard to a combined 14 yards on 12 carries.
On the flip side, the Bengals had no answers for Baltimore’s dynamic rushing attack. Lamar Jackson practically did whatever he want, as Cincinnati was unable to set the edge and their second level was gashed for chunk plays. WR Auden Tate was one of the team’s lone bright spots on Sunday. Tate looked a lot like injured teammate A.J. Green for much of the game, reeling in diving catches and athletic jump balls with ease.
Defining stat: 2.4 yards per rush
What’s next: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars - Sunday, October 20 (1:00 PM)
Seahawks defeat Browns: 32-28
Looking to bounce back from a terrible showing against the 49ers on Monday night last week, the Browns came out swinging on Sunday. Cleveland scored touchdowns on each of their first three offensive drives, jumping out to a 20-6 lead over Seattle. From there it was downhill. Their next three possessions resulted in a blocked punt and two interceptions leading into halftime, while the Seahawks cut the deficit to two points. They scored on just one drive in the second half but after taking a 28-25 lead, they gave up a touchdown and Baker Mayfield threw his third interception of the game. Nail in the coffin.
Mayfield’s struggles this season continued, as he completed just 22/37 passes for 249 yards with a 1:3 TD/INT ratio. For the year, Mayfield now has just five touchdowns to 11 interceptions, as well as multiple fumbles. Not all of these interceptions can be attributed squarely to him, though, as his receivers have let him down on numerous occasions. Still, the regression in accuracy is concerning. RB Nick Chubb was once again an offensive standout, rushing for 122 yards and two touchdowns. Odell Beckham Jr. got back on track too with six catches for 101 yards.
Defining stat: 4 turnovers
What’s next: BYE WEEK
Steelers defeat Chargers: 24-17
With undrafted QB Devlin Hodges starting in place of the injured Mason Rudolph, the Steelers were not a very popular pick to go into Los Angeles and upset the Chargers. However, that’s exactly what they did - and did so in convincing fashion. Pittsburgh jumped out a 21-0 lead at halftime and withstood a late comeback effort by the Chargers, picking up their second victory on the year. The Steelers defense continues to look strong, this time holding Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler to a combined 32 yards on 14 carries - as well as forcing Phillip Rivers into three turnovers.
Rookie LB Devin Bush was extremely active, totaling seven tackles, an interception, and a fumble recovery. Another first-year player for Pittsburgh, RB Benny Snell, had a breakout performance, turning 17 carries into 75 yards. Snell acted as the No. 2 back with Jaylen Samuels inactive and worked in tandem with James Conner, who also had a productive game. Conner ran for 41 yards and added another 78 as a receiver, scoring two touchdowns in the process. Amidst instability at the quarterback position, HC Mike Tomlin has guided the Steelers to remain competitive. They’re now tied with the Browns at 2-4.
Defining stat: 3 forced turnovers
What’s next: vs. Miami Dolphins - Monday, October 21 (8:15 PM)