Steel City Underground's AFC North Report wraps up the result of each game played by rivals in the division and how the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, and Pittsburgh Steelers fared against their opponents each week during the NFL regular season.
In Week 10, every team in the AFC North earned a win - except the Cincinnati Bengals who went head-to-head against a division rival in the Baltimore Ravens. The Steelers won a very close game over the Los Angeles Rams and the Cleveland Browns were able to eke out a win over the Buffalo Bills.
Ravens continue to roll while Bengals falter again
Baltimore's Lamar Jackson gave a clinic on being a successful NFL quarterback while the Bengals threw rookie Ryan Finley into the fire. From the opening moments of the game, a Jackson-led Ravens team rolled all over the Bengals, 49-12, in Paul Brown Stadium. Although Jackson finished by completing 15-of-17 passes for 223 yards and three touchdowns, the dominance by Baltimore on defense allowed Robert Griffin III to wrap up the game as the Ravens' signal-caller. Jackson posted his second perfect passer rating (158.3) of the season on Sunday, becoming just the second quarterback (Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers in 2007) to reach that mark in a single season. Jackson's 47-yard highlight-reel run in the third quarter for a touchdown simply added insult to injury.
Finley, in his NFL debut, threw a pick-six (89-yard return by Marcus Peters) and was the victim of a Tyus Bowser sack-fumble that was returned for 39 yards. Welcome to the big league, kid. Finley completed 13-of-22 passes for a touchdown to Tyler Eifert. Finley did get some help with Joe Mixon adding 114 yards on a career-high 30 carries on the day.
In Week 11, the Ravens (7-2) will host the Houston Texans (6-3) while the Bengals (0-9) travel West to face the Oakland Raiders (5-4).
Mistake-riddled Browns squad grabs a three-point win
Sunday's game between the Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills wasn't a pretty affair. There were several mistakes made by both teams but the Browns were able to finally snap what was a four-game losing streak and win at home. There is still a long way to go for the Browns if they want to make the playoffs, but a win over the Bills (who still hold a wild card spot despite their loss Sunday) gives them a morale booster as they prepare to host the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Baker Mayfield stepped up with just over five minutes left in the game, his team trailing 16-12. After finding Odell Beckham Jr. for a 13-yard gain, Mayfield tried to flip the ball forward to Kareem Hunt, who got his first start this season after serving a suspension. The Bills recovered the loose ball and ran it back for what looked to be an easy touchdown. On review, the play was ruled an incomplete pass. When Nick Chubb was able to grab 21 yards on a nice run behind Hunt as his lead blocker, the Browns were able to get to the Bills 35-yard line. After a nice pass to Jarvis Landry, Mayfield found a wide-open Rashard Higgins for a seven-yard touchdown that put the Browns up 19-16.
Steven Hauschka missed his second field goal of the game; the game-winner would have been a 53-yard kick but the ball was short.
With a win over Rams, Steelers-Browns will be the divisional matchup to watch in Week 11
It wasn't a pretty game as the Steelers handed the Los Angeles Rams a five-point loss on Sunday afternoon. Once again, the Steelers defense came up big with four takeaways to help give Mason Rudolph and the offense opportunities. Minkah Fitzpatrick was possibly the Steelers' most-valuable player for yet another week.
Things need to improve offensively for Pittsburgh in a hurry. There are still a lot of dropped balls. With injuries to key rushers, they have to hope that a few players get healthy - including James Conner and Roosevelt Nix - as the season gets deeper.
The game between the Steelers and Browns on Thursday Night Football will be between two teams that still want to be considered "in the hunt" for post-season play and a potential AFC North divisional title. Both teams have their own struggles. With a short week to prepare, this Week 11 game will be the one that will make a real difference in who is able to get on the heels of Baltimore and really give chase.