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AFC North race shaping up

The Ravens are currently in control heading into Sunday’s contest with the Bengals

Syndication: Akron Beacon Journal
Baker Mayfield
Jeff Lange / USA TODAY NETWORK

The AFC North race is beginning to take shape, and there are a few surprises already.

Baltimore is right where everyone thought they would be, and the Ravens’ 34-6 win over the visiting Los Angeles Chargers was by far their most impressive victory of the season.

Cleveland, on the other hand, just dropped its second straight after suffering a 37-14 thrashing at the hands of undefeated Arizona Cardinals, while Pittsburgh joined the Browns at 3-3 after notching its second straight win by beating Seattle in overtime, 23-20.

Cincinnati, which faces off with Baltimore next week, stands alone in second place in the conference at 4-2.

No drama this week

Fresh off an overtime victory against the Indianapolis Colts, The Ravens did not waste any time Sunday in dispatching the visiting Chargers. The Ravens re-established their running game in scoring the game’s first 17 points, and never looked back.

All three Baltimore running backs - Latavius Murray, Le’Veon Bell and Devonta Freeman - scored touchdowns in the win, and two of the three - Freeman and Murray - averaged around six yards per carry.

Quarterback Lamar Jackson ran for 51 yards on eight carries while completing 19 of 27 passes for 167 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

Looking for answers

The Browns were not about to find any against the visiting Cardinals, who jumped out to a 20-0 lead in the first half and were never threatened en route to improving their perfect record to 6-0.

Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray connected with DeAndre Hopkins for two touchdowns, and finished by completing 20 of 30 passes for 229 yards, while matching his career best with four scores.

Injuries just continued to mount for Cleveland, which was already without star running back Nick Chubb, who was nursing a sore calf. Running back Kareem Hunt was taken to the locker room in the fourth quarter with a calf injury of his own.

Quarterback Baker Mayfield reinjured his left shoulder and was guilty of three turnovers: two fumbles and an interception. Even so, Mayfield managed to put up some pretty good numbers as he completed 19 of 28 passes for 234 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. But it was not nearly enough, as he was sacked five times.

Steelers win again

All-everything defensive end T.J. Watt strip-sacked Seattle quarterback Geno Smith in the closing minutes of overtime, and Pittsburgh turned the mistake into a game winning 36-yard field goal.

It was Watt’s second sack of a remarkable night in which he knocked down three passes and recorded three tackles for loss.

Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger went 29 of 40 for 229 yards and a touchdown. Rookie running back contributed 83 yards on the ground and caught his second touchdown pass of the season, a 5-yard strike that got Pittsburgh off to a 7-0 lead.

Smith, starting in place of injured Russell Wilson, completed 23 of 32 passes for 209 yards and a touchdown while backup running back Alex Collins added 101 yards on the ground for the Seahawks.