Baltimore Ravens: Defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 23-20
Ravens stole the game after having a slim chance of winning
The Ravens basically stole their Week 4 game from the Steelers. They did it after really trying to give the game away themselves by not converting on a fourth down quarterback sneak and failing on a fake field goal. However the Ravens' defense stepped up and stopped the Steelers on two fourth down attempts of their own. You couple that with Pittsburgh's Josh Scobee missing two field goals, including one that would've all but sealed the game, and it created just enough of a window for the Ravens to sneak in and snatch this win.
Justin Forsett came alive with 150 yards on 27 carries. The Ravens' leading receiver was Kamar Aiken who had five catches for 77 yards and a touchdown. Flacco had a pedestrian game completing 20 of 33 passes for 189 yards with a touchdown. He also gave the ball away on an interception and a lost fumble to start the second half. He did redeem himself by leading that game tying drive at the end of the game though. However, the hero of the game was Justin Tucker who connected on all of his kicks, three field goals and two extra points, including a 42 yard kick to tie the game and a 52 yarder to win it.
Ravens place Michael Campanaro on IR, Steve Smith Sr. out vs Browns; trade for Chris Givens
After four weeks of the season the Ravens seem to just keep adding names the the injury report in waves. Their list of injured players is riddled with key contributors on both sides of the ball, but this week three receivers headline the report. The biggest addition is Steve Smith Sr. who will at least be out Week 5 against the Browns. They also placed wide receiver Michael Campanaro on Injured Reserve which thins out an already thin receiving core. What's worse is Breshad Perriman doesn't seem any closer to making his Ravens debut after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery last week. These injuries led to the Ravens trading for former Rams' receiver Chris Givens. The Ravens will have to hope guys like TE Crockett Gillmore, OT Eugene Monroe, and DL Chris Canty can take advantage of the long week after Thursday night's game and get healthy.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Lost to the Baltimore Ravens 20-23
The Steelers had multiple chances to close out what would've been a huge win over the Ravens. They simply didn't do it. Sure they have the excuse of not having Ben Roethlisberger, but in all reality they should have won this game anyway. The offense and defense did their part. Le'veon Bell rushed for 129 and a touchdown and Michael Vick was efficient completing 19 of 26 passes and a touchdown and no turnovers. The defense never let Flacco get comfortable sacking the quarterback five times and forcing two turnovers. Their only blemish was giving up 150 yards to Justin Forsett who had struggled till that point of the season.
So whose fault was this collapse? The easiest scapegoat is Scobee, who missed two big field goals including one that would've sealed the game. However, the coaches deserve a majority of this blame. Twice on fourth down they decided to go for it. Both were forth and short, needing two yards the first time and only one on the second attempt, and yet neither of these times they let Bell touch the ball. The first attempt was a weird looking play where they ran a sweep with Vick, and it never looked like the play had a chance from the start. The second was a good play call that worked exactly as they wanted, but Vick and Antonio Brown failed to connect. The play would've likely been converted if Roethlisberger was throwing the pass, but that is where the problem starts. On both plays they tried to catch the Ravens off guard with their play call rather than relying on their star running back to go out there and get them the first down. They instead favored Vick, the quarterback who had been rushed into the starting position with three days of preparation. Sometimes it is better to be predictable and trust your players to beat the opposition than try and outsmart yourself by trying to outsmart the other team.
Unfortunate truth about NFL kickers; Steelers sign a new one
While the coaches deserve a lot of blame there is a reason Scobee is an easy scapegoat. He didn't seal the game when he had the opportunity. This was a long time coming though. The steelers already had shifted to attempting two point conversions more and more rather than attempting the 33-yard field goal attempt for the extra point. That says everything you need to know about the confidence the Steelers had in Scobee. People always talk about how hard it is to kick in Pittsburgh and apparently Scobee says he was playing through a groin injury, but the reality of NFL kickers is that they have the shortest leash of any player. You have one job and if you can't do it at a high level there are plenty of guys waiting to take your place. As such, kicker Chris Boswell signed a two-year deal with the Steelers; he was on the Giants during training camp this offseason.
Cleveland Browns: Lost to the San Diego Chargers 27-30
Browns not surprising anyone with their loss
If any other team lost the way the Browns did on Sunday it would be devastating for that fan base, but most Browns' fans seemed to brush it off after a few hours. Were there bright spots for Cleveland in this loss? Of course. They managed to rally back with a touchdown drive and a two point conversion to tie the game at 27. Duke Johnson had a total of 116 yards and a touchdown, Gary Barnidge continued to show chemistry with Josh McCown, and the defense applied consistent pressure on Philip Rivers.
However, a loss like this always has some frustrating aspects. Probably the most glaring was Cleveland's late game defense. It started with a 68 reception on third and five for the Chargers with 9 minutes left in the game. The Browns brought pressure, but couldn't get to Rivers before he found Dontrelle Inman who lost the linebacker who was covering him. This led to a touchdown and an 8 point lead for the Chargers. Then after tying the game the Chargers had two minutes to drive for a field goal. The Browns didn't seem all too concerned with stopping them either. They gave up chunks of yards including a 19-yard run by Danny Woodhead to put them at the Browns' 24 yard line. As the Chargers went to kick the game-winning field goal, Josh Lambo missed, but the Browns were called offsides, giving Lambo another try, which he made. The Browns' defense can't feel great about having two opportunities to help their team win and essentially not even come close to capitalizing on either.
Ray Farmer return could mean big changes
Ray Farmer has a lot of potential work ahead of him. The Browns haven't been shy about making moves without Farmer, but with his return he has a chance to try and make a few moves to get this team where it needs to be. It seems unlikely that any sort of midseason minor roster change can turn the Browns' ship around.
The biggest potential move that he could make, sooner than later probably, is fire Mike Pettine. Clearly the Browns haven't improved since their downward spiral last season following their win over the Bengals. That could all be forgiven though if Pettine had a better handle on this Johnny Manziel situation. The simple way to explain this is by asking a question about each quarterback. Can (insert Browns QB here) take the Browns to the playoffs this year? The answer is no, so why are the Browns and Pettine wasting opportunities to develop and and evaluate Manziel by holding onto this ridiculous notion that the Browns can somehow turn this thing around. Farmer's first move should be to tell Pettine if he doesn't start Manziel, and they keep losing, that his job is on the line.