As Week 3 comes to a close, the race for the AFC North is of course very much up in the air, but a surprising team is in the lead. The Bengals are still very much alive even after a disappointing loss. The Ravens were the only AFC North team to win in Week 3, putting them in first place at (3-0). The Browns managed to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory. And, Philadelphia may have proven they’re for real after shutting the Steelers down in their worst loss since the Bengals beat them 41-10 in 1989.
Baltimore Ravens (3-0) defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3): 19-17
Steve Smith Sr. had a pretty nice game in Week 3. He had eight receptions for over 80 yards. And, Ramsey, though his team lost, also had a pretty good game. Ramsey, the Jaguars’ 2016 first round draft pick, made a great play to tip a pass that led to an interception late in the game.
Apparently Ramsey and Smith had a war of words during the game because following the Ravens’ win, Smith had to be separated from a heated discussion with Ramsey. Ramsey did talk to the media after the game.
"When you've been beating the opponent that's in front of you both physically and psychologically all day, they tend to get mad like that,” Ramsey told NFL Network after the game. “I don't care how old he is. If that made him angry then, he can go home and sleep on it. I don't care. It is what it is. As a player, he's still a good player. I'll say that about him. I don't respect him as a man though."
Smith responded in his typical fashion.
Ramsey has had a nice start to his career, and Smith’s career is clearly headed to Canton eventually. In reality this is probably just tempers flowing over after a tough loss for one team. But, you’d think it would be Ramsey who would be on the receiving end. He may have learned it is easier to trash talk when your team actually wins.
The Ravens sit atop the AFC North at (3-0), but they didn’t look impressive again and are the least impressive undefeated team. The Jaguars took the lead in the second half and after about three unusual changes in possessions after tipped passes, the Ravens were finally put in position to kick the game winning field goal. Justin Tucker doesn’t disappoint in those situations, and the Ravens moved to (3-0).
The Ravens have won three games, and the combined record of those opponents amounts to one win and eight losses. You can’t choose who you play, but their combined margin of victory over these teams is a total of 13 points, twice having to overcome fourth quarter deficits.
The run game is still struggling too. Baltimore’s running backs combined for 65 yards rushing. Although, Joe Flacco did bring some life to the running game when he scrambled for a touchdown.
The Ravens have been doing just enough to get by. Time will tell if playing this close to the edge will come back to bite Baltimore, so far it hasn't.
Cleveland Browns (0-3) lost to the Miami Dolphins (1-2): 24-30
In the absence of almost any offensive threats, the Browns and Hue Jackson opted to have Terrelle Pryor spark the offense. Pryor filled up the stat sheet while even taking some snaps at quarterback. Pryor finished with eight catches for 144 receiving yards, 35 passing yards, and 21 rushing yards and a touchdown. Pryor even lined up at safety in a Hail Mary situation.
The Browns are without Josh Gordon for another week, but Pryor could constantly fill the jack of all trade role for Jackson’s offense. Bengals fans easily will recall Mohamed Sanu filling that same role in Cincinnati’s offense under Jackson, but the Bengals had more going on offense than the Browns currently. It may be hard for Pryor to replicate this kind of game, but the Browns will probably give him every chance to do it throughout the season.
Cleveland really had to work to disappoint fans hoping for a victory on Sunday. After falling behind 24-13, the Browns climbed back to tie the game in the fourth quarter. However, recently added kicker, Cody Parkey’s struggles held Cleveland back from claiming what should've been a win. Parkey had not had a chance to practice with the Browns until pre-game warm-ups. It showed as he went two of five. Including missing a game winning field goal after Ryan Tannehill fumbled the ball inside the Dolphins’ 30 yard line.
The game ended up in overtime where Miami eventually ran in for the game ending touchdown.
People may blame Parkey for the loss, but with such limited practice time, what did they expect? It is unfortunate for the Browns, but the team is used to losing these kinds of games.
Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1) lost to the Philadelphia Eagles (3-0): 3-34
I don’t see why more teams don’t trade their first round selection to the Browns. It usually ends up in a pretty successful season for that team. When the Bills traded up to get Sammy Watkins in the 2014 draft they finished with their first winning season in 10 years. When the Falcons traded up for Julio Jones in 2011, the franchise made consecutive playoff berths for the first time in franchise history. Now the Eagles have started (3-0), and we have to start thinking they may actually be pretty good.
That is enough cracking on the Browns though. Although, I’m sure Steelers fans appreciate it after how badly they were beaten by the Eagles on Sunday. The Eagles shut down Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense, and held them to only three points, which was quite the accomplishment. While Antonio Brown finished with an impressive 12 catches and 140 yards, the Steelers couldn’t provide much else on offense.
What was more impressive was Carson Wentz doing the unheard of and cracking the Steelers’ defense as a rookie. Wentz completed 23 of 31 passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns. I can’t remember the last time, if ever, a rookie looked this good against a Pittsburgh defense. Time will tell on Wentz, but this was his first real test and he passed with flying colors.
What makes the 34-3 loss more embarrassing is the fact the Browns even managed to get a touchdown against the Eagles when the two teams played in Week 1.
The Steelers suffered several injuries during Sunday’s loss. Many varied in degree, and we will have to wait later in the week to know just how serious some of them were.
Ryan Shazier re-aggravated his MCL injury, and after trying to return to the game finally decided to sit it out. Safety, Robert Golden, suffered a hamstring injury, and never returned to action. He was replaced by rookie Sean Davis. Left guard Ramon Foster also left the game with an unspecified injury. He came into the game questionable with an elbow injury. Lawrence Timmons suffered a shin injury and had to go to the hospital. Wide receiver, Eli Rogers, suffered a foot injury, and Mike Mitchell is having his knee injury evaluated by the team doctors.
There are quite a few big names on that list. Even missing just a few games would hurt the Steelers in Week 4 against the Chiefs. However, the Steelers will be getting Le’Veon Bell back from suspension this week, so that will probably solve what little troubles they had on offense.