There is no longer a log jam at the top of the AFC North standings.
Losses by the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns, coupled with the Baltimore Ravens’ overtime win against the Indianapolis Colts, left the Ravens alone at the top of the heap with a record of 4-1. The Bengals and Browns both stand at 3-2, with the Pittsburgh Steelers lurking at 2-3.
Truly a dual threat
For those of us who saw Lamar Jackson as no more than a running quarterback, the Ravens’ signal-caller seemed to answer those questions once and for all on Monday Night Football.
Jackson’s five-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Brown on the first possession of overtime gave Baltimore a 31-25 win over the Colts. Jackson finished by completing 37 of 43 passes for a career-high 442 yards and four touchdowns, good for an overall rating of 140.5. He also added 62 yards on the ground on 14 carries.
The Ravens trailed by a 25-9 score heading into the fourth quarter, but Jackson hit Mark Andrews on a pair of short touchdown passes and a two-point conversion to even the count. Jackson also had a 43-yard touchdown strike to Brown late in the third quarter.
Carson Wentz had a career day of his own for the Colts as he connected on 25 of 35 passes for 402 yards and two touchdowns, good for an overall rating of 128.5. Baltimore jumped out to a 22-3 lead after a 76-yard swing pass from Wentz to Jonathan Taylor, but couldn’t hang on.
The Browns and Los Angeles Chargers combined for 41 points in the last 15 minutes of their matchup, but it was the Chargers who had the last laugh in a game that featured a tie and eight lead changes. Austin Ekeler scored on a three-yard run with 1:31 remaining and the Chargers held on for the win, 47-42.
Prior to Sunday, 442 teams in NFL history had scored 40 or more points with no turnovers, and every single one of them had come out victorious. Now, that record stands at 442-1.
Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield bounced back from a pedestrian showing last week by completing 23 of 32 passes for 305 yards and two touchdowns. Tight end David Njoku, who came into the game with just seven receptions for 111 yards, had a career day and finished with 149 yards on seven receptions, including a 71-yard catch and run for a score.
Running back Nick Chubb had his third-biggest day as a pro as he exploded for 161 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown. Kareem Hunt added 12 rushes for 61 yards and two scores.
But it was not enough as Cleveland’s defense had no answer for Justin Herbert, who completed 26 of 43 passes for 398 yards and four scores. Two of those touchdown passes went to Mike Williams, who finished with eight receptions for 165 yards.
Back from the dead
The reports of their demise have been greatly exaggerated.
Whether it’s the Steelers or Ben Roethlisberger, don’t write either one of them off just yet.
Pittsburgh, which got off to a disappointing 1-3 start, bounced back behind a solid effort from its aging quarterback to defeat the Denver Broncos by a count of 27-19 on Sunday afternoon.
Roethlisberger put together one of his best performances in the last couple of years, completing 15 of 25 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns and rookie running back Najee Harris gave Pittsburgh its first 100-yard rushing in nearly a year in the winning effort. Harris finished with 122 yards on 23 carries and added a pair of receptions for 20 yards.