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Cincinnati is the new King in the North

Bengals claim AFC North title, playoff berth with win over Chiefs.

Syndication: The Enquirer
Chiefs’ defensive end Chris Jones sacks Joe Burrow Sunday
Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

The “King in the North.”

That’s the title Bengals’ quarterback Joe Burrow selected after Sunday’s thrilling 34-31 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. For those of you who don’t know, that’s also the title earned by Robb Stark, the fictional star of the HBO mega-drama, “Game of Thrones.”

And Burrow was right on target. The win left Cincinnati as kings of the AFC North division, and guaranteed the Bengals a berth in the playoffs for the first time since 2015.

Baltimore, which was still without the services of starting quarterback Lamar Jackson, led most of the way before dropping its fifth straight game, this time by a score of 20-19 to the Los Angeles Rams. The Ravens now stand at 8-8.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh, kept its playoff hopes alive after beating the Cleveland Browns, 26-14, in what has to be one of the worst games of the year. The Steelers improved to 8-7-1 with the win, while the Browns fell to 7-9.

Baltimore loses a heartbreaker

The Ravens were playing without injured cornerbacks Marcus Peters, Marlon Humphrey and Anthony Averett on defense, but still managed to give the Rams all they could handle.

Safety Chuck Clark intercepted Los Angeles quarterback Matthew Stafford two times in the first half, and returned one of them 17 yards for Baltimore’s only touchdown of the game.

Baltimore was holding on to a 19-14 lead with less than a minute to play when Stafford hit Odell Beckham, Jr. with a 7-yard touchdown pass that provided the winning margin. The Ravens never got close enough for a field goal try.

Tight end Mark Andrews continued to be a bright spot for Baltimore as he set the team record for receiving yardage in a season with 1,276 yards. He is also just four catches short of the single-season record for receptions.

Despite falling to 8-8, the Ravens are still technically alive in the playoff hunt, but will have to win next week and get a whole lot of help.

Steelers win absolute snooze fest

How bad was this game? Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed 24 of 46 passes, for 123 yards, an average of 2.7 yards per completion, with one touchdown and one interception. Are you kidding me?

As bad as Roethlisberger was, Baker Mayfield was just a little bit worse. The Browns’ signal caller managed to complete just 16 of 38 passes for 185 yards (an average of 4.9 yards per catch), with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

The difference in the game was the Steelers’ defense, which sacked Mayfield nine times. Pittsburgh defensive end T.J. Watt was an absolute beast as he recorded four sacks, three tackles for loss and two passes defended.