What a weekend for the teams in the AFC North.
After facing a 13-point second half deficit, the Cincinnati Bengals amassed a major comeback against the Indianapolis Colts. It was a sour ending to what looked like it would be a fairytale comeback for Andrew Luck in his first game back in over a year, but Cincinnati prevailed.
With the win, the Bengals got off to a great start to the season and erased many demons from their opening weekend debacle against Baltimore last season. It was a stark contrast to a year ago, not only because they scored points, but also because they garnered a come-from-behind victory.
Speaking of the Ravens, boy, did they take it to the rebuilding Buffalo Bills. After making the postseason last year and engaging in a fire sale of sorts this offseason, Sean McDermott’s crew was under the microscope.
McDermott decided to go with Nathan Peterman as the starter in Week 1, but he was yanked after putting up a deplorable stat line of: 5-of-18 for 24 yards and two interceptions. He had a 0.0 passer rating. Rookie Josh Allen was called in for relief, and he didn’t fare much better with 74 yards on 6-of-15 passing.
Meanwhile, after enduring a summer filled with accolades for his backups, Joe Flacco was “elite” once again on Sunday. He finished 25-of-34 for 236 yards and three touchdown passes. Running backs Kenneth Dixon, Javorius Allen and Alex Collins all hit pay-dirt as well.
What ensued was utter domination by the Ravens. They stomped Buffalo on their home turf, 47-3, as they head to Cincinnati for a very interesting Thursday Night Football matchup between the two clubs.
However, what transpired in Indianapolis and Baltimore paled in comparison to the events in Cleveland on Sunday.
The Browns hosted the Steelers in what was surely going to be a blowout by Pittsburgh, but an improved Browns team and Mother Nature contributed to a slobber-knocker. The Steelers had six total turnovers in the rain, as both teams plodded to a 21-21 tie that saw both teams’ kickers miss in a sloppy outing.
Pittsburgh has a tough stretch of games ahead, as they host the Chiefs, travel to Tampa Bay, host the Ravens and Falcons, and then have a showdown at Paul Brown Stadium rounding out their next five games. Meanwhile, Cleveland is still searching for their first win in their past 18 regular season games. But hey, the Browns did not lose on Sunday and a tie for the Steelers and Browns could become very important in the AFC North race. A tie may have been the best potential outcome for Ravens and Bengals fans in that game.
And, the winner on Thursday Night Football in the Bengals vs. Ravens game will take (at least a temporary) lead in the AFC North.
Here’s a look at the AFC North standings after Week 1:
- Baltimore Ravens: 1-0: 0-0 in division, 1-0 in conference
- Cincinnati Bengals: 1-0: 0-0 in division, 1-0 in conference
- Cleveland Browns: 0-0-1: 0-1-0 in division, 0-1-0 in conference
- Pittsburgh Steelers: 0-0-1: 0-1-0 in division, 0-1-0 in conference