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AFC North Recap: Week 10

Baltimore Ravens v Miami Dolphins Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Week 10 of the 2021 NFL season was one that the majority of the AFC North would like to forget, as none of the three teams that played emerged victorious. The Cincinnati Bengals remained in the thick of the hunt for the division while watching from home this past week on their bye week.


Baltimore Ravens (6-3)

On a short week, the Ravens traveled to Miami to face the Dolphins on Thursday Night Football. In a game that many considered would be a cakewalk for Baltimore, the Ravens were unable to generate much of anything on offense against heavy blitzes all night, falling 22-10 in a classic trap game.

Baltimore had no answer for Miami’s constant barrage of blitzes which frequently resulted in a free rusher barreling towards quarterback Lamar Jackson. Jackson and the passing attack failed to find a rhythm and make the Dolphins pay for their aggressive game plan. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman has again emerged as a hot topic of debate following his lack of adjustments against Miami’s approach.

Defensively, the Ravens had one of their better performances of the season. In what has become a weekly occurrence, however, a handful of blown coverages cost Baltimore in the end — the worst of which being a 64-yard completion to a wide-open Albert Wilson on second down while the Ravens trailed by five with just over three minutes left in regulation. Miami later scored on the drive to make it a two-possession game.

Cleveland Browns (5-5)

A week after a statement victory over the Bengals following the drama of cutting wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., the Browns failed to follow up with another step in the right direction, falling completely flat in a 45-7 loss to the New England Patriots instead.

With running back Nick Chubb inactive on the reserve/COVID-19 list, Cleveland once again turned to D’Ernest Johnson to lead the backfield. Johnson put up another valiant performance as the lead back, carrying the ball 19 times for 99 rushing yards while adding another 58 yards through the air on seven catches. Quarterback Baker Mayfield struggled before leaving the game with a knee injury in the third quarter.

Mayfield is expected to play this Sunday against the Detroit Lions, but if he is unable to go, veteran Case Keenum will once again lead the offense.

After a dominant performance against the Bengals, the Browns’ defense was picked apart by the Patriots’ offense and rookie quarterback Mac Jones, who threw three touchdowns while completing 19 of 23 pass attempts.

Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3-1)

In what was potentially the most surprising result of the weekend, the Steelers failed to topple the winless Detroit Lions, tying 23-23 in overtime instead.

Following a missed field goal that would have won the game for the Lions, Pittsburgh’s offense — led by backup quarterback Mason Rudolph — quite literally fumbled away the game when Detroit recovered a fumble from rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth on the sixth drive of overtime. The Steelers, needing a field goal to win, were in field goal range already when the fumble occurred.

Head Coach Mike Tomlin said that he has not ruled out veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger returning this week to play the Los Angeles Chargers, but that the game plan would be built around Rudolph once again. Roethlisberger landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list last Saturday. Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick joined him on the list on Monday and is expected to miss this Sunday’s game.