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State of AFC North: Steelers left in dust; Ravens pull one out

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Baltimore finally ends up on the right side of a close game. The Browns have another typical Browns game. The Steelers let a huge opportunity slip through their fingers.

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

We take a look around the division to see how each team fared in Week 8 and the storylines following them into Week 9.

The Baltimore Ravens beat the San Diego Chargers, 29-26

Ravens finally pull out a close one with a victory over Chargers

Baltimore steals a close win over the Chargers, due, in a large part, to Justin Tucker's leg. Tucker had five field goals, including the game winner. Joe Flacco's ability to spread the ball around, especially after Steve Smith Sr. went down, was critical as nine players caught a pass. It was a good thing Flacco got it done because the Chargers held Justin Forsett in check. Forsett only managed 67 yards rushing and a catch for five yards. The Ravens' defense was bailed out by the offense doing just enough as Philip Rivers carved up that secondary, going 28 of 37 for 301 yards and three touchdowns. Probably the biggest thing was that the Ravens didn't lose the turnover battle. While the defense didn't manage to come up with any turnovers, the offense protected the ball. With the game being decided by just a field goal, it's clear that even one offensive slip up could have cost them the game.

Steve Smith Sr. added to IR; will this be the end for the WR?

While the Ravens won the game, they lost their most important offensive weapon. Smith Sr. tore his Achilles, and if history has anything to say about it, he won't be coming back from this. First off he is obviously done for this season, so the question becomes can he accept ending his career this way, as he planned to retire at the end of the season. It's hard to speculate, but if he does attempt a return he will likely be a shell of himself as very few players over 30 have managed to return from this injury and produce at a high level.

The Cleveland Browns lost to the Arizona Cardinals, 34-20

Browns' offense can't keep up or capitalize

It is almost like the Browns enjoy letting their fans down. It isn't enough to lose game. They have to give everyone hope first. The Browns had a 20-7 lead with little time remaining in the first half. Then the Cardinals drove in range for a field goal to make it 20-10 at the half. Apparently this was the beginning of the end for the Browns as they let the Cardinals rattle off 24 second half points while the Browns failed to score again. They failed to get anything going on the ground as Josh McCown was the team's leading rusher with 18 yards, and aside from Gary Barnidge's seven catches for 53 yards and a touchdown, the receivers didn't help much either. The Browns' defense came up with some timely turnovers to keep the Cardinals out of the end zone, but in the second half, they failed to slow down the Cardinals at all with Joe Haden and Donte Whitner both knocked out of the game with concussions. Chris Johnson had 30 carries for 109 yards, but he also fumbled twice so the defense really played him decently. It was their failure to hold Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd in check that cost them. Fitzgerald had nine catches on the day and Floyd had a 60 yard touchdown that set the tone for the second half.

The fire sale is on in Cleveland

The trade deadline for the NFL is tomorrow, and the Browns have let it be known that several big name players are available. On the list are a couple of under producing pass rushers, Paul Kruger and former first round pick, Barkevious Mingo. Kruger has only managed half a sack on the season, and Mingo has only round up seven sacks in three seasons, none this year. Aside from an interception in overtime against Denver, that should have won them that game, MIngo has had relatively no effect on on this season for the Browns. Finally the most surprising name out there is Joe Thomas. Thomas has been the foundation and most stable player for the Browns for quite sometime, so his name coming up has to be slightly alarming on where this franchise is going. There were rumors Alex Mack was on the trading block, but he reminded everyone he has a no-trade clause in his contract and he'll be sticking around in Cleveland.

The Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the Cincinnati Bengals, 16-10

Roethlisberger loses the game

I think if you told Bengals' fans that their team would only manage 16 points on Sunday against the Steelers, most wouldn't expect a win. However because of a horrible injury to Le'veon Bell and a great effort from the Bengals' defense they pulled out a huge win against the Steelers. The Steelers are now 3.5 game back in the division. The Steelers' offense roared down the field on the opening drive for a touchdown. It would be their most effective drive of the game, however. After adding a field goal the offense became stagnant, and Ben Roethlisberger committed mistake after mistake. His final two interceptions cost the Steelers as the Bengals managed to turn them into 10 points and a 16-10 lead. Finally on the last play Roethlisberger had Antonio Brown open in the end zone for a moment, but by the time he found him several players converged on him and Roethlisberger placed the ball where Brown had no chance of making a play. The Steelers' defense was really let down as they held Andy Dalton in check for a vast majority of the game, and they even forced him into two interceptions, including one that was a better punt than an actual turnover. Cameron Heyward even managed to block a field goal. Then there was a curious decision near the end of the game. With three timeouts left, the Steelers let the clock run until the two minute warning costing them over a little over 30 seconds. Mike Tomlin said after the game that they decided to do that because they wanted to be able to work the middle of the field. His value of a timeout over 30 seconds was a very big miscalculation and may have cost the team the game.

Steelers lose Le'veon Bell for the year

Obviously you never want to see this happen to any NFL player. These guys are people providing for their families and who have worked hard to get to where they are. As far as football is concerned, the Steelers can't seem to keep their entire offense on the field. After finally getting Roethlisberger back from injury, it looked like the offense would be at full power at just the right time, but now without Bell the Steelers will likely rely on DeAngelo Williams in the running game, who filled in very well during Bell's suspension. The Steelers will probably start to work Martavis Bryant and Brown more in the passing game in the wake of the injury as well. And, they've signed Isaiah Pead to replace Bell's roster spot.