It has been a rough couple of weeks for the Bengals and their fans, but the rest of the AFC North took this week to try and cheer them up. Happy everyone lost week! The Ravens found a way to lose another dramatic game. Cleveland isn’t winning games, but Cody Kessler is winning respect. The Steelers fell for the trap, but they are dealing with an even bigger loss heading into their game against New England.
Baltimore Ravens (3-3) lose to New York Giants (3-3): 23-27
Terrell Suggs tore his bicep in the team’s loss to the Giants. Suggs is set to have more tests done to determine the severity of the injury but it is believed the Suggs wants to play through the injury if he can. It is also believed that the injury isn’t season ending.
If Suggs can’t play, that will be a huge loss for Baltimore’s defense. The Ravens are already waiting on Elvis Dumervil’s foot to build its strength back up before he attempts to return. If Suggs misses time, the Ravens will have to rely on young pass rushers like Za’Darius Smith and Kamalei Correa to produce pressure, something the Ravens defense has struggled with for the most part.
Sunday started out well for the Ravens. They jumped out to a 10-0 lead, but then the roller coaster ride of momentum began.
The first shift was right before the half when Eli Manning tossed his first touchdown of the game. The Giants tied it up at 10 in the second half when the Ravens picked Manning off, but they had to settle for a field goal.
The following drive, Manning tossed a 75 yard touchdown to Odell Beckham Jr. and gave the Giants all the momentum. That was until the Ravens tossed a bomb to Mike Wallace that put the Ravens at the goal line. Baltimore got stuffed on four throats down and failed to add points after entering the red zone.
The teams swapped field goals, but Terrance West added his second touchdown with just over two minutes to play giving Baltimore a 23-20 lead. That was too much time to give Manning and Beckham as the two connected for another long touchdown pass. The Ravens had a shot at a Hail Mary pass, but that failed and the Ravens dropped their third straight game.
Giving up two long touchdowns is hard to overcome, but the Ravens failed to score touchdowns in the red zone on Sunday. The defense gave the offense a short field, and the offense failed to get any points after completing the deep pass to Wallace. The Giants made plays the Ravens simply couldn’t.
Cleveland Browns (0-6) fall to Tennessee Titans (3-3): 26-28
The Browns tried to keep their game against the Titans close, but they fell into a hole in the fourth quarter. Down 28-19 with 2:07 remaining in the game, Hue Jackson elected to attempt the two point conversion. The offense failed and left the team down two scores.
That is what everyone is focused on. The fact that the Browns were still down two scores. Guess what though? The Browns still would’ve had to go for two at some point. It didn’t matter when they failed. It just mattered that they failed. Just because most teams wait until it is absolutely necessary doesn’t mean it was wrong of Jackson to try and get it out of the way early.
The decision was magnified as the Browns recovered an onside kick and scored another touchdown with under a minute left. The time of the two point conversion won’t affect the call.
It is a shame the team lost after a great effort from Terrelle Pryor (who had two touchdowns) and Cody Kessler, but a win wasn’t in the stars for the Browns on Sunday. Hopefully, the same proves true next week.
If there is one thing you need to have as a quarterback, it is the dedication to never give up on a game. Often times, if the quarterback keeps that faith alive, then the rest of the team will follow. Kessler showed that on Sunday.
The Browns fell behind 28-13 in the fourth quarter, and where past Cleveland team’s would’ve packed up and headed home, Kessler kept the team alive leading them to two more touchdowns.
He did this despite being sacked six times and hit 11 other times. He showed toughness and heart in a close loss, and his teammates took notice. Players like Pryor, Joe Thomas and Duke Johnson Jr. all talked postgame about how much they love playing behind Kessler.
The interesting thing is, the Browns could have Josh McCown returning next week from injury. McCown was supposedly close to being ready for Sunday’s game against the Titans. When McCown is healthy, the Browns may have a decision to make. Although it doesn’t make much sense to bench the young gun in a lost season.
Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2) lose to Miami Dolphins (2-4): 15-30
There was a lot of talk about this being a trap game for the Steelers, but it is crazy that it actually happened. The Steelers were a huge road favorite against a bad team, and that usually spells trouble for the Steelers.
In Miami, the Steelers seemed to be on track early scoring on a long run by Darrius Heyward Bey. They even added on a two point conversion for good measure, but then bad Ben Roethlisberger showed up. He threw a pick that ended up only netting a field goal for Miami. The Dolphins had trouble in the red zone early. Settling for field goal after field goal before the Dolphins finally punched it in from the goal line In the third quarter to go up 16-8.
The Steelers’ offense spent most of the game struggling to get anything going. Le’Veon Bell finished with less than 60 rushing yards. Antonio Brown was held to four receptions for 39 yards, and Roethlisberger finished with 189 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. He also left the game with a knee injury, but returned... Though we now know that he probably shouldn’t have done that.
The Steelers defense also couldn’t slow down Jay Ajayi who became the first running back this season to rush for more than 200 yards in a game. He also scored two touchdowns including the game icing long run.
The Steelers usually rebound from a bad loss with a big win. You can just look at what happened to the Chiefs a few weeks ago. That won’t be as easy with the Patriots next on their schedule. It also won’t be easy without their quarterback.
Roethlisberger tore his meniscus in his left knee in the loss to the Dolphins. He has already undergone surgery on Monday and his recovery time has yet to be determined. Though, the Steelers don’t expect it will be a long-term issue. Not only did the loss to the Dolphins hurt, but without Roethlisberger, the door has been opened for the Ravens and Bengals to possibly make up ground against the division leader.
The Steelers have a great offense, but Roethlisberger is clearly the most important part. He makes everything work. From his connection with Brown to being able to audible to runs for Bell when it’s beneficial for him, the Steelers offense loses quite a bit without Roethlisberger.
Last year Landry Jones stepped in when Roethlisberger missed time, including a brief appearance in the Wild Card game against the Bengals. However there has been some speculation as to whether Zach Mettenberger may see time if Landry Struggles
This raises a red flag for Roethlisberger’s durability, again. He isn’t getting younger, and he keeps getting dinged up. Depending on how many games he misses, the Steelers may take a serious look at preparing for the future without Roethlisberger in the next draft.