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AFC North Week 2 Recap: Glimpsing at what could’ve been

The Bengals were reportedly very interested in Mason Rudolph before the Steelers hopped them in the 2018 draft. Did Pittsburgh do Cincinnati a favor?

Tennessee Titans v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Week two was another pretty rough one for the AFC North (with the exception of the Ravens). Two teams sit at 0-2 and the Browns failed to look that superior to a team on their third string quarterback. We also got to see quarterback Mason Rudolph take over for Ben Roethlisberger, who will miss the rest of the season. Here is the recaps from Week 2.

The Baltimore Ravens (2-0) defeated the Cardinals (0-1-1): 23-17

The Ravens are 2-0, but we got a better idea of who they are in Week 2 after playing a team that is closer to NFL standards. It wasn’t smooth sailing like Week 1 against the Dolphins.

Quarterback Lamar Jackson still had a wonderful game with 272 passing yards and 120 rushing yards with two passing touchdowns. He also helped make the necessary plays to put the game away, which included an absolute dime on 3rd and 11 with three minutes left.

It was the defense that deserves the gold star this week though. They forced the cardinals into three field goals that were right near the end zone (two of 21 yards and another 22 yarder). It took until the fourth quarter for the Cardinals to finally hit pay dirt.

The Ravens should still be heavy favorites to win the division, but we saw a much more human team this week. They are still very good, but maybe expectations should be taken down a notch.

The Cleveland Browns (1-1) defeated the New York Jets (0-2): 23-3

The Browns worked their way into second place in the AFC North. They may still be the most disappointing team considering how high expectations were coming into the season. Cleveland was supposed to win this game as soon as news hit that Jets quarterback Sam Darnold was going to miss the game with Mono, but it was far from the reassuring performance you’d expect from one of the better teams in the league.

The Browns offense is just a strange enigma. On paper they look really good, and their offensive line wasn’t even that bad this week. They still weren’t able to really get going on a consistent tear against the Jets. Maybe they are still trying to get into the groove with Freddie Kitchens as the head coach, or maybe this is what this team will be with Kitchens at the helm.

As far as the defense goes, they stopped Le’Veon Bell well enough. Myles Garrett is a monster who added three sacks to his total. Not too much to take away from a game where they faced a third string quarterback for a good chunk of it. They were at least more disciplined this week. Not nearly as many penalties.

The Pittsburgh Steelers (0-2) lost to the Seattle Seahawks (2-0): 26-28

Man you have to feel bad for the Steelers who now have to deal with missing Ben Roethlisberger for what appears to be the rest of the season with an elbow injury. We basically saw a half of Rudolph at the helm.

The second-year quarterback was 12 of 19 with two touchdowns. He also had an interceptions that went right through Donte Moncrief’s hands and off his helmet into a defender’s arms (that is probably a free agent acquisition Pittsburgh regrets). Overall Rudolph looked impressive, but we will have to see how he does against a better secondary. He will also have a chance to prepare each week as the starter.

Pittsburgh’s defense looked impressive as well. They were able to take advantage of the same weak Seahawks line that the Bengals’ dominated in Week 1. They also kept the Steelers’ hopes alive with two fumbles inside the Seahawks 20 yard line.

The defense should also get a huge bump after the team just traded a first round pick in 2020 as well as swapping some mid rounders with the Dolphins for Minkah Fitzpatrick to help their secondary issues.