Kevin Gorman’s Who runs the North? Ravens in control of disaster of a division
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.
The 4 AFC North teams are about to fall to an aggregate 3-11 when not playing each other.
Those three inter-div wins have come against teams that are a combined 1-11-1
Of the teams that have lost to AFC North teams, they combine for ZERO wins against non-AFC North teams.
— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) October 8, 2019
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.
— NFL (@NFL) October 6, 2019
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.
Ravens have kept Pittsburgh in this game with interceptions and penalties. If the Ravens lose it will be because they have earned it.
— Mike Preston (@MikePrestonSun) October 6, 2019
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.
Oh my, Nick Bosa. 🤭
The former Ohio State Buckeye brought out a flag-planting celebration after Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield planted a flag on Ohio State's field in 2017.pic.twitter.com/9pVtziULab
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) October 8, 2019
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.
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) October 8, 2019
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.
— Mark Slaughter (@MarkVSlaughter) October 6, 2019
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.
At this time last year, the #Bengals just beat Miami to go 4-1 with Pittsburgh coming to Paul Brown Stadium next. In the year since, they've gone 2-14 and fired Marvin Lewis. Life comes at you fast.
— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) October 7, 2019
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.
— SteelVideos (@SteelBlitzburgh) October 6, 2019
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.
Steelers QB Devlin Hodges, on JuJu Smith-Schuster’s fumble in OT in 26-23 loss to Ravens: pic.twitter.com/8MveZKVe0C
— Kevin Gorman (@KGorman_Trib) October 7, 2019
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.
Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Kevin by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .