Kevin Gorman’s Who runs the North? Ravens in control of disaster of a division |
Kevin Gorman, Columnist

Kevin Gorman’s Who runs the North? Ravens in control of disaster of a division

Kevin Gorman
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Ravens celebrates Sam Koch celebrates with Justin Tucker after Tuckers’ game winning field goal in overtime to beat the Steelers 26-23 Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019 at Heinz Field.

The Baltimore Ravens are the best team in the NFL’s worst division.

Mostly by default.

Seriously, the AFC North stinks something awful.

That the Ravens needed overtime to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, who were down to playing an undrafted rookie quarterback from an FCS program, shows the depths to which the AFC North has sunk.

How bad?

The Ravens are the only team with a winning record, and two of their three victories came against the woeful Miami Dolphins and the Arizona Cardinals. The Steelers’ lone victory was over the winless Cincinnati Bengals, who once again found a way to lose. And the Cleveland Browns beat the winless N.Y. Jets and the Ravens.

The Bengals are clearly bad, but there’s no telling if any of these teams are any good.

The worst performance of Week 5, however, belonged to the Browns.

They were blown out by San Francisco after a putrid performance by Baker Mayfield, as the 2018 No. 1 overall pick was embarrassed by 49ers defensive lineman Nick Bosa on Monday Night Football. After getting planted by Bosa, the only thing Mayfield was waving was a white one.

Here’s the good news: This division is so bad that the Steelers still have a shot at the postseason.

Right now, nobody in the AFC North looks like a playoff team.

Baltimore Ravens

Result: Beat the Steelers, 26-23, in overtime.

Highlights: The Ravens ended a two-game losing streak, thanks to their defense not giving up 500-plus yards for the first time in three weeks but mostly Justin Tucker field goals of 27, 26, 48 and 46 yards, the last one for the win in overtime. The Ravens also rushed for 138 yards, with Lamar Jackson running for a game-high 70 yards on 14 carries and Mark Ingram adding 44 yards and a touchdown. But it was mostly Tucker.

Lowlights: Jackson completed 19 of 28 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown but threw three interceptions and was sacked five times for minus-22 yards. His third pick was followed by an 87-yard touchdown drive that was sparked by a game-altering play: Safety Earl Thomas knocked Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph out of the game with a helmet shot to the jaw. It drew a 15-yard penalty but likely will result in an NFL fine, not nearly enough punishment for a head shot that left Rudolph lying on the field motionless and unconscious.

Next: The Ravens (3-2) play host to the Cincinnati Bengals (0-5) on Sunday.

Cleveland Browns

Result: Lost to the San Francisco 49ers, 31-3, on Monday Night Football.

Highlights: Jarvis Landry hauled in his 500th career reception on a 20-yard pass from Odell Beckham Jr., the closest Cleveland came to having anything resembling an effective passing game. Running back Nick Chubb rushed for 87 yards on 16 carries but the Browns failed to score a touchdown.

Lowlights: That Breida ran 83 yards for a touchdown on the 49ers’ first play and it wasn’t the worst of the lowlights is saying something. But Mayfield was that bad in the worst start of his career. He completed 8 of 22 passes for 100 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions — including one near the goal line — and was sacked four times for minus-42 yards. The Browns had to bench him in the fourth quarter for his own safety.

Next: The Browns (2-2) play host to the Seattle Seahawks (4-1) on Sunday.

Cincinnati Bengals

Result: Lost to the Arizona Cardinals, 26-23.

Highlights: The Bengals ended their seven-quarter streak without a touchdown, as Andy Dalton threw two fourth-quarter touchdowns (2 yards to Auden Tate and 42 yards to Tyler Boyd) in a span of 2:08 to rally to tie the game at 23-23.

Lowlights: Cardinals rookie Kyler Murray passed for 129 yards and rushed for 48 in the first half to outgain Cincinnati on his own, 177 yards to 90. Murray complete 20 of 32 passes for 253 yards and rushed for a career-high 93 yards, including a 24-yard run in the final minute to set up a Zane Gonzalez 31-yard field goal on the final play of the game. The Bengals are 0-5 for the first seventh time since 1990, the most in the NFL in that span.

Next: The Bengals (0-5) play at the Baltimore Ravens (3-2) on Sunday.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Result: Lost to the Baltimore Ravens, 26-23, in overtime.

Highlights: The Steelers rallied from a pair of 10-point deficits to take a 20-17 lead into the fourth quarter, despite undrafted rookie Devlin Hodges being forced to relieve Rudolph. Chris Boswell continues to come through, converting field goals of 41 and 33 yards, the latter to give the Steelers a 23-20 lead with 2:37 remaining in regulation.

Lowlights: Losing Rudolph to a concussion on a helmet-to-helmet hit by Thomas left the Steelers down to their third-string quarterback. The Steelers had a chance to win in overtime but JuJu Smith-Schuster was stripped by cornerback Marlon Humphrey and lost a fumble.

Next: The Steelers (1-4) visit the Los Angeles Chargers (2-3) on Sunday.

Hey, Steelers Nation, get the latest news about the Pittsburgh Steelers here.

Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Kevin by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.