For a while during the early afternoon Week 10 matchups, it looked like the Cincinnati Bengals might be closing the gap on the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC North division rice. The Bengals were leading the Titans by a score of 20-17 with just over five minutes left, and the Steelers trailed the lowly Indianapolis Colts by a score of 17-9 through three quarters.
But Cincinnati gave up a 7-yard touchdown pass to DeMarco Murray with 36 seconds left en route to a 24-20 loss to the Titans, while Pittsburgh ran off 11 unanswered points in the final frame to outdistance the Colts, 20-17.
The Ravens had a bye this week, so nothing changed for them.
Cleveland, meanwhile, gave Detroit all it could handle, leading the game for quite some time. Unfortunately for them, an injury to starting quarterback DeShone Kizer and the need to put in backup quarterback Cody Kessler caused the Browns to fall short. The game was tied 24-24 when Kizer exited and the final score was 38-24.
Before getting injured, Kizer finally looked like the starting quarterback the Browns hoped he could be when they drafted him in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Kizer completed 21 of 37 passes for 232 yards and a touchdown, and drove the Browns on a 13-play, 71-yard drive late in the game that ended in his only interception of the day. Isaiah Crowell complemented Kizer with his best effort of the season as he rushed for 90 yards on 16 carries, an average of 5.6 yards a carry. Kizer chipped in 57 yards on seven carries.
Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier helped engineer Pittsburgh’s comeback when he picked off a short Jacoby Brissett pass. Ben Roethlisberger made the most of the opportunity when he hit Vance McDonald for a seven-yard touchdown pass, and Roethlisberger then hit Martavis Bryant for the two-point conversion to tie the score at 17-17 with just under 12 minutes left.
Pittsburgh had an opportunity to grab the lead at the six-minute mark, but Chris Boswell missed a 37-yard field goal attempt. He would get a chance to redeem himself.
The Steelers got the ball back with just over three minutes remaining, and Roethlisberger engineered a 10-play, 70-yard drive that moved Pittsburgh from its own 15 to the Indianapolis 15, where Boswell made good on a 33-yard field goal as time expired.
Roethlisberger finished with 19 completions on 31 attempts for 236 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. JuJu Smith-Schuster continued his outstanding rookie season for the Steelers with five receptions for 97 yards and a touchdown. Le’Veon Bell was once again the workhorse for the Steelers as he carried the ball 26 times for 80 yards.
Brissett (who’s now in the concussion protocol) went 14-of-24 for 222 yards and two touchdowns, but it was his one interception that got the Steelers back into the game. Chester Rodgers led the Colts with six receptions for 10 yards and a touchdown. Donte Montcrief had only one catch, but that catch was a 60-yard touchdown reception that gave Indianapolis a 17-3 lead.
Here’s a look at the updated AFC North standings:
- Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2, 3-0 in division, 6-1 in AFC)
- Baltimore Ravens (4-5, 2-1 in division, 4-3 in AFC)
- Cincinnati Bengals (3-6, 1-2 in division, 3-5 in AFC)
- Cleveland Browns (0-9, 0-3 in division, 0-8 in AFC)