Week 5 is in the books and there is a new leader in the AFC North. After losing two in a row, the Ravens lost their seat at the top, and they are scrambling to get back on track. The Browns are keeping things interesting, like only they can. And, the Steelers take the AFC North lead with their win over the Jets.
AFC North Standings:
Odds to win the AFC North, per BookMaker.eu:
Pittsburgh Steelers -465
Baltimore Ravens +655
Cincinnati Bengals +655
Cleveland Browns +50000
Baltimore Ravens (3-2) fall to Washington (3-2): 10-16
Two weeks ago the Ravens were sitting at (3-0) atop the AFC North and one of the few remaining undefeated teams. However, there were concerns they weren’t winning games like they should. In the NFL a win is a win, but we still didn’t know how the Ravens would play against average or good teams. Now we do.
The Ravens are on a two game slide after dropping games against Oakland and Washington. In Washington the wind had a clear affect on the game. It was a strong swirling wind that made it almost impossible to throw deep. This didn’t stop the Ravens from throwing it 46 times on Sunday. They even had a 10-6 lead going into the half.
What was more frustrating for Baltimore is that Washington wasn’t even stopping the run. Terrence West ran 11 times for 95 yards. That’s an 8.6 yard per carry average. The Ravens were never even down by more than one score, so not running the ball easily cost them; it’s also likely why their offensive coordinator has now been fired — more on that below.
Special teams also came back to bite the Ravens again as Washington had a punt return scored on them in the first quarter. Last week they also allowed a huge return back to their own six yard line that ended up being a touchdown for Oakland. The Ravens also ran a fake field goal where Justin Tucker attempted a pass. This was a poor choice because A) Tucker is way better at kicking field goals than throwing B) The Raves were WINNING when they attempted this C) The winds were so strong that even the quarterbacks were struggling!
The Ravens defense did all they could. Though, C.J. Mosley did turn a pick-6 into a 17-yard gain for Washington.
They stopped Washington’s several attempts on fourth down, and came up with several turnovers. However, their offense, even with a chance to win it at the end of the game, couldn’t pull through. If Breshad Perriman gets his second foot down in bounds at the end of the game, maybe we’re talking about how clutch Joe Flacco is, but more realistically we’d be saying how lucky the Ravens would’ve been to win a game they mismanaged so significantly.
The Ravens almost immediately fired Marc Trestman following their loss on Sunday. The Ravens have gotten so far away from what made them a good team a few years ago when Gary Kubiak was running the offense.
As I mentioned above, the way Trestman refused to run the ball, especially when it was so effective, was one of the first things people blamed for the loss on Sunday. Trestman also struggled to get the offense going in most games. It took some heroics for the Ravens to manage a win in Cleveland in Week 2, and they have struggled to Get this offense going most weeks.
The Ravens are hoping by making Marty Mornhinweg the new offensive coordinator that what looks like a good offense on paper can become a good offense on the field.
Cleveland Browns (0-5) lost to New England Patriots (4-1): 13-33
The only thing the Browns can really hang their hat on is that the game was this close. To hold Tom Brady to three touchdowns in his first game back, in Cleveland, wasn’t bad.
The only thing people could talk about during and after the game was how Cleveland went through two more quarterbacks on Sunday. First Cody Kessler injured his ribs and chest and was ruled out of the game. Then entered Charlie Whitehurst, the man who lost his job to Russell Wilson in Seattle, who played admirably completing 14 of 24 passes and he even had a touchdown. Then he went down toward the end of the game, and Terrelle Pryor took over for a few plays. It is sad that putting Pryor at quarterback easily took away the best receiving threat the Browns had.
The Patriots rolled the Browns like everyone thought. Hurricane Brady flew through Cleveland, and unfortunately it’s on it’s way back home waiting for the Bengals.
Interestingly, Whitehurst has since been cut and the Browns are hoping Kessler can play on Sunday against the Titans. Additionally, they have elevated Kevin Hogan from the practice squad.
The Browns were awarded former Patriots and Cardinals offensive guard, Jonathan Cooper, on Monday off of waivers. Cooper was involved in the Chandler Jones trade with the Patriots, but was waived on Saturday by New England. Cooper was inactive for the first four weeks of the season.
The former seventh overall pick will get a chance to prove he can play at a high level in Cleveland. Cooper was running with the first team in New England during the offseason until a foot injury kept him off-the-field. If Cooper can get healthy and start, this becomes quite the pickup for the Browns.
Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1) beat New York Jets (1-4): 31-13
The Pittsburgh Steelers just keep rolling. Offensively it is hard to put it any other way than saying they are unstoppable. Now that Le’Veon Bell is back, what are you supposed to do as an opposing defense? Bell has even upped his receiving skill set. Bell caught nine passes on Sunday, though, he had a rough time running with 20 carries for 66 yards. But, he did more than enough through the air and the Steelers beat the Jets with relative ease.
Speaking of the air, Ben Roethlisberger added four more touchdowns on Sunday against the Jets. Going into the half it looked like it would be a good game. The score was 14-13 with Jesse James scoring a touchdown right before halftime. The Jets must have missed the second half though as they were shut out the rest of the way. Ryan Fitzpatrick played horribly on Sunday, as he has been. His lone touchdown was more of a great play by Brandon Marshall who reached over the defender to make the catch.
The Steelers seem like a well oiled machine, and one of the three best teams in the AFC.
Injuries for the Steelers are piling up as quickly as the wins. Ryan Shazier, who has missed a few weeks already, is eyeing a Week 8 return. Shazier is a great young player who adds athleticism to the linebacker position. Then the Steelers released the news that Cameron Heyward will also be missing two to three weeks with a hamstring injury.
These big name players won’t miss much when Pittsburgh plays the Dolphins next week, but the injuries may finally catch up with the team when they play the Patriots in Week 7. That game could have a huge impact on playoff seeding.