It was far from a successful week in the AFC North, as all four teams lost their matchups on Sunday. The Ravens were outplayed in Kansas City and despite a late comeback charge, they ultimately fell victim to the magic of Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid. In Buffalo, the Bengals nearly pulled off a comeback of their own but couldn’t execute late.
Elsewhere, the Steelers and 49ers went back-and-forth in San Francisco but the home team pulled ahead late, dropping Pittsburgh on the season. The undermanned Browns put up a good fight against the Los Angeles Rams but were outscored in the fourth quarter.
1) Baltimore Ravens 2-1
2) Cleveland Browns 1-2
T-3) Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers 0-3
Chiefs defeat Ravens: 33-28
In a highly-anticipated quarterback matchup between Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes, the latter continued his hot start to the season and demonstrated yet again why he was the league MVP last year. The Chiefs were without Tyreek Hill, Eric Fisher, and Damien Williams but the Ravens were unable to capitalize, as Kansas City’s offense proved to be just as potent as usual. After punting on their opening drive, the Chiefs scored on six of their next eight possessions - four of which resulted in touchdowns. Despite individual highlights from Matthew Judon and Pernell McPhee, the Ravens struggled to pressure Mahomes after the first two drives.
Thus, Mahomes had about 4-6 seconds to throw on many of his dropbacks and the result was what you’d expect. He completed 27/37 passes for nearly 400 yards and three touchdowns. On the other side, Lamar Jackson had his worst performance of the season, completing just 22/43 throws for 267 yards. Compared to the first two weeks, he was far more inaccurate and seemed out of rhythm throughout. On the bright side, he began to pull things together late and made some impressive plays as a rusher, while also not turning the ball over. Sheer dominance from RB Mark Ingram (138 total yards, 3 TD) was not enough to overcome costly penalties, head-scratching coaching decisions, and sloppy defense.
Defining stat: 5.4 yards per pass
What’s next: Cleveland Browns - Sunday, Sep. 29 (Home, 1:00 PM)
Bills defeat Bengals: 21-17
Looking to bounce back from last week’s blowout home loss to the 49ers, the Bengals traveled into a raucous environment in Buffalo to take on an undefeated Bills squad. It looked like another multiple-possession defeat was in the works after the team fell into a 14-0 hole at halftime, but Cincinnati came out of the locker room energized. The Bengals scored 17 straight points to take a three-point lead with just several minutes remaining in the fourth quarter - which proved to be enough time for Josh Allen and Buffalo.
Allen orchestrated a 7 play, 78-yard touchdown drive to but the Bills up by four points, setting the stage for Andy Dalton and company to score a clinching touchdown of their own. Unfortunately, Dalton’s pass attempt was intercepted at the 0:12 mark, abruptly ending the Bengals’ hopes and dropping them to 0-3. On the bright side, starting RB Joe Mixon showed signs of life, catching a touchdown and posting a season-high 68 rushing yards.
Defining stat: Four turnovers (two fumbles, two interceptions)
What’s next: Pittsburgh Steelers - Monday, Sep. 30 (Away, 8:15 PM)
49ers defeat Steelers: 24-20
In Mason Rudolph’s first career start at quarterback, the Steelers nearly pulled off a much-needed victory on the road. Despite a lack of national coverage, the 49ers were one of the few remaining undefeated teams entering Week 3 and still are today, so losing by four points to them isn’t something Pittsburgh fans should hang their heads over. With that being said, however, this was certainly a winnable game but the Steelers failed to capitalize on numerous opportunities. Rarely do you see a team force FIVE turnovers and lose, but that’s exactly what Pittsburgh did on Sunday.
The Steelers turned three fumbles and two interceptions into just six points and after holding a 6-3 lead at halftime, they were outscored 21-14 in the second half. Rudolph was less inspiring than last week, completing 14/27 passes for 174 yards with both a touchdown and an interception. Pittsburgh needs to find a way to get their rushing attack going, as the banged up James Connor yet again struggled with just 43 yards on 15 attempts. On the bright side, recently-acquired via trade Minkah Fitzpatrick had an interception.
Defining stat: 3/12 on third down
What’s next: Cincinnati Bengals - Monday, Sep. 30 (Home, 8:15 PM)
Rams defeat Browns: 20-13
Pressed into yet another primetime slate - their first time on Sunday Night Football in over a decade - the Browns were tasked with taking on the defending NFC champions without their starting tight end, their top two cornerbacks, and a starting safety. No problem, right? Injuries aside, the final score indicates a competitive game - and that’s what it was. The undermanned Browns’ defense deserves credit for limiting the Rams. Los Angeles finished with a pair of 100+ yard receivers (Cooper Kupp, Brandin Cooks) but Cleveland was able to force Jared Goff into two interceptions and bottle up Todd Gurley II (14 carries, 43 yards).
Had their offense been better than it was, they may have pulled this one out. Cleveland’s offensive attack had been uninspiring through two weeks and that trend continued on Sunday night. The Browns’ offensive line struggled to contain Aaron Donald and the playcalling left much to be desired. Freddie Kitchens, who ignited a fire into Cleveland’s offense last year, has struggled to get anything going so far in 2019. Baker Mayfield was once again shaky, completing just 18/36 passes for a touchdown and an interception. The Browns had a chance to send the game to overtime or take the lead but on 1st & goal, they threw the ball four times in a row and were unsuccessful each with each attempt.
Defining stat: 1/4 in the redzone
What’s next: Baltimore Ravens - Sunday, Sep. 29 (Away, 1:00 PM)