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AFC North Roundup: Week 6

Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

In their respective non-divisional matchups in Week 6, the Ravens defeated the Eagles on the road while the Bengals dropped a third consecutive game in Indianapolis. In Pittsburgh, the Steelers took care of business against the Browns in convincing fashion.

Cincinnati has now dropped three consecutive games in a row, while the Steelers remain undefeated and the Ravens enter their bye week on a three-game win streak. The Browns are now a full game behind Baltimore in the standings after their loss.

Updated Standings:

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers 5-0
  2. Baltimore Ravens 5-1
  3. Cleveland Browns 4-2
  4. Cincinnati Bengals 1-4-1

Bengals lose to Colts: 27-31

There was nowhere to go but up for the Bengals after a putrid offensive showing against the Ravens in Week 6. They appeared primed for a bounce-back victory and upset against the Colts early after jumping out to a quick 21-0 lead.

However, Indianapolis stormed back and cut the Bengals lead to just three points at halftime before seizing control in the fourth quarter. It was a rollercoaster finish for Cincinnati.

Trailing by just one point midway through the final frame, Jessie Bates III appeared to swing momentum after intercepting Philip Rivers. The Bengals couldn’t capitalize on the ensuing drive, though, as Randy Bullock missed a 48-yard field goal off the upright.

Two drives later, Cincinnati had a chance to score a game-winning touchdown with under a minute remaining — but Joe Burrow’s pass attempt to Tyler Boyd on third down was intercepted. It was a disappointing finish and another learning experience for Burrow.

Burrow was relatively sharp prior to this moment, completing 25-of-39 throws for over 300 passing yards. His trio of starting receivers each had productive outings, especially fellow rookie Tee Higgins. The emerging second-rounder caught six passes for 125 yards. A.J. Green had his best game of the season, too, catching eight balls for 96 yards himself.

Defining stat: 3.1 yards per carry

What’s next: vs. Cleveland Browns — Sunday, Oct. 25 (1:00 p.m. ET)

Ravens defeat Eagles: 30-28

The final score of the Ravens/Eagles matchup is, in a word, misleading. In no way was this a back-and-forth affair, as the Ravens never trailed at any point. In fact, they were in driver’s seat for a borderline blowout victory for all but the final five or six minutes of this game.

Baltimore rode a 17-0 lead into halftime and led by 16 points with just 5:00 left on the clock in the fourth quarter. Two quick touchdowns by the Eagles, however, saw them crawl within a two-point conversion try of tying the game at 30-30.

Ultimately, Matthew Judon and L.J. Fort combined to stop Carson Wentz on said two-point conversion try and sealed the door on the Eagles comeback attempt.

This was another mixed bag performance for Baltimore despite a third straight win. The defense was nothing short of dominant for most of this game and completely thwarted everything Philadelphia tried to throw at them early on.

The tide turned late in garbage time, but that shouldn’t erase the fact that the Ravens won big up front early and often. As a team, the Ravens sacked Wentz six times and racked up 16 QB hits. DE Calais Campbell played a starring role in the effort with three sacks, four QB hits, and four TFL.

Offensively, the Ravens started fast but quickly faded into inconsistency, very similarly to their Week 6 showing against the Bengals. The passing game mustered only 186 yards and the trio of running backs combined for just 74 rushing yards on 28 attempts. Lamar Jackson masked these deficiencies with 108 rushing yards and a 37-yard score.

Defining stat: 16 QB hits

What’s next: Bye week

Steelers defeat Browns: 38-7

Pittsburgh continued their strong start to the season in a high-stakes showdown against the Browns in Week 6. This was the first time all year that the Steelers defeated an opponent with a winning record, and they did so in thoroughly convincing fashion.

The Steelers dominated the Browns up front in both the run and passing game. Pittsburgh limited Cleveland’s rushing attack to just 75 total yards on the ground and effectively took Kareem Hunt out of the equation for the Browns. They forced Baker Mayfield to beat them through the air and got consistent pressure in the pocket. A pick-six by Minkah Fitzpatrick on Pittsburgh’s first defensive possession set the tone for the remainder of the afternoon.

The Steelers ceded just 4.1 yards per play and racked up four total sacks. Bud Dupree had a strong individual showing with two sacks, two QB hits and two TFL. CB Joe Haden had three pass defenses and helped limit Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. to a combined five catches for 65 receiving yards.

Offensively, RB James Conner was Pittsburgh’s catalyst with over 100 rushing yards, 5.1 YPC and a touchdown. Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers passing attack had a subpar showing compared to their performances in the previous four games this year but Pittsburgh still managed to pour in over 30 points regardless.

Rookie WR Chase Claypool once again paced the team’s pass-catchers with 74 receiving yards, while adding a rushing touchdown for the second straight game.

Defining stat: Two forced turnovers

What’s next: @ Tennessee Titans — Sunday, Oct. 25 (1:00 p.m. ET)

Browns lose to Steelers: 7-38

Winners of four straight games entering Week 6, the Browns rolled into Pittsburgh with legitimate momentum. In the previous slate of games, they settled into an offensive groove and were clicking on almost all cylinders.

Based on Sunday’s showing, though, you would have had no idea.

Any rhythm the Browns had going for them quickly dissipated in the first quarter and never returned. The Browns did put points on the board until late in the second frame of play, by which point they had punted three times and gave the ball away twice.

Trailing 24-7 at halftime, Cleveland’s next four drives in the second half resulted in a punt and three consecutive failed conversions on fourth down. It was that kind of day for the Browns offensively. Without any sort of offensive consistency, Cleveland’s defense was on the field an awful lot and were evidently overmatched.

The Browns offensive line struggled in both pass and run protection all afternoon. Mayfield had little time to throw and completed just 10-of-18 throws for 119 yards, with a touchdown and two interceptions. HC Kevin Stefanski pulled Mayfield for backup QB Case Keenum late in the game.

Defining stat: 4.1 yards per play

What’s next: @ Cincinnati Bengals — Sunday, Oct. 25 (1:00 p.m. ET)