With the Cleveland Browns on their bye week, Week 5 saw some re-positioning in the AFC North standings. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ win over the Baltimore Ravens moved them into first place by virtue of tiebreaker. The Ravens had been atop the standings every week thus far but squandered a chance to widen their lead and improve to 3-0 in the division.
Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Bengals earned their second win of the season to close the gap between them and the top of the division.
- Pittsburgh Steelers 3-2
- Baltimore Ravens 3-2
- Cleveland Browns 2-2
- Cincinnati Bengals 2-3
Result: Loss to Pittsburgh Steelers, 10-17
For the second time this season, the Ravens lost after getting an early lead, succumbing to numerous self-inflicted mistakes as the game progressed. After leading 10-3 at halftime, Ravens went scoreless in the second half and were outscored 14-0 in the fourth quarter.
The Ravens’ receiving core hadn’t been charted with a dropped pass once through four games heading into Week 5. Against the Steelers, seven of Lamar Jackson’s passes were dropped, including two in the end zone and several that would have resulted in long gains.
On top of the drops, the Ravens turned the ball over three times, including twice on back-to-back possessions at the end of the fourth quarter. They were in scoring position several times from the end of the second quarter on and came away with no points.
Things began to spiral late in the game as the Ravens’ offense stalled consistently and their defense finally bent, giving up a 41-yard game winning touchdown to George Pickens. In total, the Ravens out-gained the Steelers, had more first downs, and less penalties. They controlled the game up until the fourth quarter, which has happened several times before.
Result: Win over Baltimore Ravens, 17-10
On the flip side of the rivalry showdown in Pittsburgh, the Steelers pulled out a miraculous win and emerge as first place in the division. After being lifeless for most of the game, the Steelers’ offense managed three scoring drives late, but it was their defense and special teams that once again gave them a chance to win.
Up until the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Steelers had punted the ball six times and scored just once off a field goal. After allowing 10 straight points early in the game, Pittsburgh’s defense then forced a fumble and turnover on downs to end the first half. Over the final two quarters, they forced three more punts, a fumble, an interception, and a turnover on downs.
The momentum turning point occurred when Miles Killebrew blocked a Ravens’ punt deep in their own territory, which rolled out of the back of the end zone for a safety. Following a good punt return, the Steelers were already in field goal range and then made it a two-point deficit.
Pittsburgh now has three wins on the season and at least two of them can be attributed largely to their defense forcing timely turnovers and scoring points to assist the team’s offensive output. The Steelers have now won six of the past seven meetings against the Ravens, too.
Result: Win over Arizona Cardinals, 34-20
Following a disastrous performance last week, the Bengals bounced back with a badly-needed 14-point win over the Cardinals. Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase each had their best performances of the season to lead Cincinnati’s offense in a resurgent showing.
Burrow’s three touchdown passes all went to his No. 1 wide receiver, who caught a whopping 15 receptions in total. Chase also accounted for more than half of Burrow’s 317 passing yards, as Chase had 192 on his own. This all-world display was needed in the absence of fellow starting wide receiver Tee Higgins, who was out with a rib injury.
The Bengals put up a season-high 27 first downs and 380 yards. They did, however, only go 2-of-5 in the red zone, were unsuccessful on three fourth-down attempts, and averaged 4.8 yards per play — which was less than the Cardinals.
Nevertheless, the Bengals overcame an early 14-10 deficit and outscored the Cardinals 17-6 in the second half, with a 10-0 advantage in the fourth quarter specifically. Cincinnati’s defense forced three turnovers and had a key pick-six late in the second quarter.