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AFC North Division Roundup

The Bengals, Browns and Ravens are all tied at the top.

Syndication: The Enquirer
Jessie Bates III takes the field agains the Dolphins on Thursday night
Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Well, that was fast.

Just two short weeks ago, fans and fanatics were wondering what was wrong with the Cincinnati Bengals after two straight last-minute losses.

Suddenly, all is right in the Queen City.

The Bengals’ victory over the Miami Dolphins on Thursday night, coupled with losses by Cleveland and Baltimore on Sunday, suddenly has Cincinnati back where it belongs - on top.

The Bengals, Browns and Ravens are all tied atop the AFC North Division with records of 2-2, with Pittsburgh taking up the rear at 1-3.

Ravens can’t hold on

For a team once known for stunning comebacks, this one must have seemed like no big deal.

The Buffalo Bills roared back from a 20-3 deficit late in the second quarter to pull out a 23-20 victory over the Baltimore Ravens on the strength of a Tyler Bass 21-yard field goal as time expired.

The comeback was made possible after the Bills’ defense forced a fourth-down turnover in the end zone with 4:09 left. With the score tied at 20-20, Baltimore drove to a second-and-goal at the Buffalo 1-yard line. After a pair of runs lost a yard, a Lamar Jackson pass was intercepted by Jordan Poyer for a touchback.

Josh Allen took the ball at his own 20 and calmly drove the Bills into field goal range, where Buffalo was able to run the clock all the way down to set the stage for Bass.

Allen finished with 213 yards, a touchdown and an interception, while Jackson was held to 144 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.

Browns come up short

Atlanta’s Dee Alford picked off a pass from Cleveland quarterback Jacoby Brissett with under a minute remaining and the Falcons held on for a 23-20 win.

The Falcons out-rushed the Browns, 202 yards to 177, despite another strong effort by Cleveland’s Nick Chubb, who finished with 188 yards rushing on 19 carries and a touchdown.

The Browns were without the services of All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett, who was hurt in an automobile accident on Monday. Despite his absence, Cleveland was still able to hold Atlanta quarterback Marcus Mariota to 139 yards passing with an interception.

Brissett, who is filling in for Deshaun Watson, who is serving an 11-game suspension for sexual misconduct, completed 21 of 35 passes for 234 yards, no touchdowns and the interception.

Steelers Stumble

Down 10-6 at halftime, Pittsburgh benched erstwhile starter Mitch Trubisky in favor of rookie Kenny Pickett, and the move very nearly paid off.

Pickett, who the Steelers grabbed with the 20th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, became the first quarterback in NFL history to run for two touchdowns in his first game as he helped rally Pittsburgh to a 20-10 lead with 13:41 remaining.

But the Jets, buoyed by the return of quarterback Zach Wilson, put together an 11-play, 81-yard drive to pull close and followed Pickett’s second interception of the game with a 10-play, 65-yard drive to win it.

Pickett finished with 10 completions in 13 attempts for 120 yards and three interceptions, including the final one on a Hail Mary effort from 50 yards out as time expired.