AFC North Week 1 Recap: Steelers Slide By Browns, Ravens Shutout Bengals

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2017 regular season opening win over the Cleveland Browns certainly wasn’t very pretty, but it was a win nonetheless and the team will now enter Week 2 as co-leaders of the AFC North with the Baltimore Ravens, who shutout the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday 20-0 on the road.

Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown caught all 11 passes thrown to him by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for 182 yards in the 21-18 win over the Browns and tight end Jesse James caught six passes for 41 yards with two of those ending in touchdowns.

The Steelers special teams unit got the scoring started early in the game as linebacker Tyler Matakevich blocked the Browns first punt of the contest and fellow linebacker Anthony Chickillo pounced on the loose football in the end zone to give Pittsburgh a 7-0 lead with 12:44 left in the opening frame.

The Steelers were able to overcome 13 total penalties for 144 yards in their Sunday win. Additionally, the Steelers offense only converted five of their 13 total third down opportunities during the game and running backs Le’Veon Bell and rookie James Conner combined to rush for just 43 yards on 14 total carries.

After a bit of a shaky start, Roethlisberger ended the game with 24 completions for 263 yards and that included his two touchdown passes to James. Roethlisberger, however, was intercepted inside the red zone by the Browns in the second half thanks to a tipped football that was intended for wide receiver Martavis Bryant, who ended the game with two receptions for 14 yards.

The Steelers offense averaged 5.4 yards per play in the win while the Browns offense averaged just 3.8 yards per play. Rookie Browns quarterback Deshone Kizer completed 20 of his 30 total pass attempts in his NFL debut for 222 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Kizer, however was sacked seven times by the Steelers defense on Sunday with rookie outside linebacker T.J. Watt being credited for two of those. Watt also recorded the Steelers lone interception of Kizer in the second half.

As for the Ravens shutting out the Bengals, Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco completed just nine of his 17 total pass attempts in the game for 121 yards with one touchdown and one interception. His lone touchdown pass and 48 of his passing yards went to wide receiver Jeremy Maclin with 3:54 left in the first half and that score gave the Ravens a 10-0 lead.

Ravens running back Terrance West added a two-yard scoring run with three seconds remaining in the first half and Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker closed out the game scoring with his second field goal of the contest with 9:38 left in the third quarter. Tucker hit both of his field goals from 25 yards out.

The Ravens defense also intercepted Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton four times on Sunday and sacked him once. Dalton completed just 16 of his 31 total pass attempts in the game for 170 yards and fumbled once. Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green caught five passes for 74 yards in the loss and three Cincinnati running backs combined to rush for 75 yards on 21 total carries.

In Week 2, the 1-0 Steelers will host the Minnesota Vikings, who will play their first game of 2017 Monday night against the New Orleans Saints. The 1-0 Ravens will host the 0-1 Browns next Sunday.

  • Too bad the asteroid I was rooting for to hit Cincinnati didn’t happen…

  • Darth Blount 47

    That Ratbird Defense is VICIOUS. And with the Brownies on tap, they are somehow more than likely going to start 2-0. Ugh.

  • Joseph Shaw

    I feel like Cleveland is underrated. Don’t get me wrong–not a great team. But there are several teams that are much worse in the league. They seem to have a legit defense. They could win a few games this year.

  • Joseph Shaw

    You reap what you sow.

    Burfict getting that big contract after the captaincy sealed it. Message sent to the entire team.

    Marvin Lewis baffles me. Seems like a quality guy, but his choices make no sense.

  • JT

    Ugly games all around the NFL this weekend. CBA practice rules catching up to everyone? Poor pre season preparation? Parity accidently leading to bad teams, instead of competitive ones? I don’t know. But this weekend reeks.

  • JT

    You could take pieces from the Ravens and Browns and make a really good team. Meanwhile, the Bengals are radioactive sans AJ Green. I look forward to them suffering this year.

  • nutty32

    Seems like the players want Marvin Lewis fired. Shutout opening day is more heartless than heartless.

  • Luneth Gardens

    Hmm, Ravens are supposed to have a vicious defense and only managed 1 sack against a horrible O-line? Either the Bungles line isn’t that bad or the Ravens D is not as good as touted.

  • WilliamSekinger

    I didn’t watch that game, but from just the highlights I saw 2-3 tipped balls leading to interceptions. Now credit Baltimore for their DLINE getting their hands up at the last minute, but that many tipped passes just doesn’t happen every week. As a matter of fact it’s a problem that the Ginger of the AFCN has consistently had a problem with. Good recognition and great preparation by the coaches recognizing this.

    Exploiting a known weakness in the Ginger of the AFCN does not make them a ferocious defense, just an opportunistic one.

  • Robert E Lil

    Baltimore will be there. They will
    But I’m more optimistic today because of the secondary we are now using

  • Sam Clonch

    Think it’s a typo, box score shows the Ravens had 5 sacks.

  • BlkNGld

    I actually like the Browns chances vs the Ravens. I give the Ravens the edge on Def but the Browns are no slouch on that front either. Offensively I believe Kizer and Crowell have more potential to put points up then the Ravens. Browns 20 Ravens 17… Probaly just wishful thinking but hey why not!!??

  • 2winz

    1.Steelers
    2.Ravens
    3.Browns
    4.Bengals

    I am tempted to put Browns at #2 because I can’t see Ravens doing much with that offense but until they prove otherwise, This is still the browns.

  • Mark Stouffer

    Dalton jumped the gun this season. He didn’t even wait for a prime time game before having an incredibly bad day

  • PaeperCup

    I know. Their offense is utter garbage, but this could be the 2000 Ravens born again.

  • PaeperCup

    Half their team are first round draft picks. They definitely have talent, and Hue Jackson is a decent coach.

  • PaeperCup

    What about the 4 picks? and zero points allowed?

  • MP

    LOL

  • MP

    Rats defense is over-powered and ridiculously good. It can easily carry them to a wild card spot, where they can make a run for it.

  • Michael James

    They had 5 sacks, it’s a typo in the text. Having watched the condensed game, I can tell you that there defense (unfortunately) is as good as advertised. They were destroying the Bengals’ OL all game.

  • Nathaniel Bass

    Ravens offense didn’t even practice as a unit together all preseason. That D is no joke. Browns are slightly improving. Bungles are Bungles