Kevin Gorman’s Who Runs the North?: What to make of a winless weekend | TribLIVE.com
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Kevin Gorman’s Who Runs the North?: What to make of a winless weekend

Kevin Gorman
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AP
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) looks to throw under pressure from Los Angeles Rams defensive end Dante Fowler during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Cleveland.
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AP
Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is tackled by Chiefs defensive end Alex Okafor (left) and defensive tackle Xavier Williams during the first half in Kansas City, Mo., on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019.

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.

Baltimore Ravens

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.

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.

Cleveland Browns

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.

Cincinnati Bengals

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.

Pittsburgh Steelers

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.

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 .

Categories: Sports | Steelers
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