Kevin Gorman’s Who Runs the North?: What to make of a winless weekend
All four teams in the AFC North faced undefeated foes, so the surprise was not that all four lost but rather that they did by single-digit deficits.
Close doesn’t count in the standings.
The quality of opponents makes it difficult to judge the division’s top team.
The Baltimore Ravens are in first place but beat the hapless Miami Dolphins (0-3) and Arizona Cardinals (0-2-1). The Cleveland Browns logged their lone victory against the New York Jets (0-3). The Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals are both winless but their first three opponents are a combined 8-1.
Thankfully, the schedule offers a solution.
The Ravens play host to the Browns on Sunday, while the Bengals visit the Steelers on Monday Night Football.
John Harbaugh on Ravens playing AFC North teams over next three weeks (vs. Browns, at Steelers and vs. Bengals): "Every game is big, but these games, I feel like they count for two games," he said. "It’s an opportunity to win one and have your opponent not win one. That’s big."
— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) September 23, 2019
Result: Lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, 33-28.
Highlights: Mark Ingram rushed for 103 yards and three touchdowns and had four catches for 32 yards. Lamar Jackson passed for 287 yards and rushed for 46 yards.
Lamar Jackson sparing no ankles 👀
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 22, 2019
Lowlights: The Ravens rallied from a 23-6 deficit but were stopped on a fourth down and failed three times on two-point conversions, including after Jackson’s touchdown with 2:01 left.
Next: The Ravens (2-1) play the Browns (1-2) on Sunday.
In 18 previous career gms had NEVER:
• played more than 79% of snaps
• seen 7️⃣ targets
BOTH Happened in Week 3 👀
• 97% snaps 😍
• 7️⃣ Targets 😍
Chubb Got Bell Cow Treatment Wk3
— Derek Brown (@DBro_FFB) September 23, 2019
Result: Lost to Los Angeles Rams, 20-13.
Highlights: Despite missing eight starters, including its entire secondary, the Browns gave a valiant effort on defense. They had two interceptions and Myles Garrett had one of their two sacks to bring his season total to six.
Lowlights: Even Browns coach Freddie Kitchens admitted that his draw with Nick Chubb on fourth-and-9 at the Rams’ 40 was a “bad call,” given that it gained only 2 yards. The Browns were stopped on four plays from the 4-yard line in the final minute, as Baker Mayfield threw a fourth-down interception in the end zone with 27 seconds left.
Next: The Browns (1-2) visit the Ravens (2-1) on Sunday.
Tre White Interception to seal the Bills victory pic.twitter.com/6WjvKZJ1Vc
— Main Team (@MainTeamSports) September 22, 2019
Result: Lost to the Buffalo Bills, 21-17.
Highlights: The Bengals finally established a ground game. After rushing for only 27 yards through the first two games, Joe Mixon ran for 61 yards. That’s 2 yards more than Cincinnati had as a team in its first two games.
Lowlights: On their first nine possessions, the Bengals gained 90 yards and managed only three first downs. Andy Dalton passed for 249 yards and a touchdown but threw two interceptions, including one that was tipped into the hands of Tre’Darious White on a third-and-5 at the Buffalo 28.
Next: The Bengals (0-3) visit the Steelers (0-3) on Monday night.
In his first game with the @Steelers…
— NFL (@NFL) September 22, 2019
Result: Lost to the San Francisco 49ers, 24-20.
Highlights: The Steelers forced five turnovers, including four in the first half and two inside their own 10-yard line. T.J. Watt had an interception and a fumble recovery and newly acquired safety Minkah Fitzpatrick had a pick and a forced fumble.
Lowlights: Those five turnovers only led to six points, as the Steelers failed to take advantage of their field position. Watt’s fumble recovery could have helped clinch the game; instead, James Conner’s fumble allowed the 49ers to regain the lead.
Next: The Steelers (0-3) play host to the Bengals (0-3) on Monday Night Football.
Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Kevin by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .