AFC North Recap Week 4: Division is Perfect During Steelers’ Bye Week.
Due to the rescheduling of their game against Tennessee, Pittsburgh partook in a Week 4 bye while their divisional foes all played in games on Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately for the Steelers, all 3 of those games ended up with the AFC North team victorious. After 4 weeks of play, the Steelers remain atop the division, however, Baltimore and Cleveland are knocking on the doorstep and both made strides this week. Cincinnati, who is currently occupying the fourth spot in the division, picked up their first win of the season and looked strong while doing it. If Week 4 taught us anything, it was that the AFC North will be one of the more competitive divisions in the NFL this year, and the Steelers must stack as many wins as possible to take the crown. Let’s break down the week 4 matchups.
BAL@WAS – Ravens 31, Washington 17.
It was not necessarily the beatdown that some were expecting, but Baltimore handily took down the Washington Football Team with good team defense and a consistent rushing attack. Early on, the Ravens struggled to find a rhythm on offense, but star CBs Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters gave their team a jump start by forcing and recovering a fumble in Washington territory to set up a short field for QB Lamar Jackson. The Ravens made no mistake and punched it into the endzone just two plays later as Mark Ingram found the endzone after a long reception from Marquise Brown. Two drives later, Lamar Jackson broke loose on a 50-yard touchdown rush that doubled the Ravens lead in the 2nd quarter. Jackson managed to do enough to down an inferior opponent, completing 14 passes for 193 yards and 2 touchdowns. As for the Baltimore defense, it was a “bend but don’t break” outing as they let up 343 total yards, but a timely turnover and 4th down stop helped their cause. It was by no means a glamorous performance, but Baltimore did what they needed to do to keep pace in the division.
Key Performers for Baltimore:
Lamar Jackson: 14/21, 193 yards. 2 TDs, 1 INT.
Mark Andrews: 3 REC, 57 yards, 2 TDs.
Patrick Queen: 12 tackles, 3 TFL.
CLE@DAL – Browns 49, Cowboys 38.
The Cleveland Browns offense had an extremely impressive showing on Sunday at AT&T Stadium as they put up 49 points against a dreadful Dallas defense. Cleveland rushed for 307 yards on the Cowboys as they had no answer to their rushing attack. D'Ernest Johnson and Kareem Hunt headed the backfield as they combined for 166 yards on 24 attempts. QB Baker Mayfield did not have to do much on Sunday, but when called upon he delivered as he threw for 165 yards and 2 touchdowns. The play of the game came when Browns WR Jarvis Landry took a handoff and took off around the left end. He then looked downfield and dropped a beautiful pass to fellow wideout Odell Beckham Jr. for a 37-yard score. Beckham Jr. also iced the game on a similar play in the 4th quarter when he took the handoff from Mayfield and instead of throwing, he turned upfield with the ball and notched a touchdown from 50 yards out. The Dallas defense was not alone in struggling though as Cleveland had a hard time stopping QB Dak Prescott. The Browns allowed Prescott to throw for 502 yards and 5 TDs. While allowing a tremendous number of yards, they did force 3 turnovers. They intercepted one of Prescott’s passes as well as registered a strip-sack. On top of that, they also forced RB Ezekiel Elliot to cough up the ball in the first half. When looking back on his team’s performance, HC Kevin Stefanski will want to sharpen up a few things, however, he has to be excited about the potential that his squad showed on Sunday.
Injury Note: RB Nick Chubb was placed on IR after an MCL sprain on Sunday. Kareem Hunt and D'Ernest Johnson will assume his duties. Meanwhile, Cleveland hopes Chubb can return later on in the season.
Key Performers for Cleveland:
Baker Mayfield: 19/31, 165 yards. 2 TDs, 0 INTs.
Odell Beckham Jr. 5 REC, 81 receiving yards. 2 TDs. 73 rush yards, 1 TD.
Myles Garrett: 2 sacks, 1 FF.
JAX@CIN – Jaguars 25, Bengals 33.
RB Joe Mixon led the way for the Cincinnati Bengals as he totaled 3 touchdowns on Sunday afternoon. Mixon scored twice on the ground while rushing for 151 yards. He also caught 6 passes for 30 yards, the most impressive reception being a 10-yard touchdown where he caught a screen pass and hurdled a defender to find his way into the endzone. As for QB Joe Burrow, he tallied 300 pass yards in his first NFL win. His lone slip-up came when he threw an interception in the endzone as he tried to find TE Drew Sample in the corner, but Jacksonville LB Myles Jack made an outstanding play to take the ball out of Sample’s hands. The Cincinnati secondary looked a little shaky as they let QB Gardner Minshew throw for 351 yards and 2 scores, but they did pick him off once and sack him 3 times. The Bengals first win came a week removed from a tie with the Philadelphia Eagles, and they still find themselves in the mix early on at 1-2-1.
Key Performers for Cincinnati:
Joe Burrow: 26/36, 300 yards. 1 TD, 1 INT.
Joe Mixon: 151 rush yards, 2 TDs. 30 receiving yards, 1 TD.
Jessie Bates III: 10 tackles, 1 TFL. 2 PDs.
BAL: VS CIN
CIN: @ BAL
CLE: VS IND
PIT: VS PHI