AFC North Week 8 Recap: Steelers, Ravens, Bengals All Victorious; Browns Remain Winless

The Pittsburgh Steelers enter their bye week with a 6-2 record following their 20-15 Sunday night road win over the Detroit Lions and that ensures they’ll remain in first place in the AFC North and the No. 1 seed in the AFC Conference entering Week 9 of the regular season.

In the Steelers win over the Lions, their defense didn’t allow a touchdown as they forced the Detroit offense to go 0-5 in the red zone and ultimately settle for five field goals by kicker Matt Prater.

The Steelers offense wasn’t overly sharp or consistent in the team’s win over the Lions as that unit only managed to convert one of their three red zone trips into touchdowns. Even so, the Steelers third quarter 97-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster put Pittsburgh ahead for good.

Smith-Schuster finished his first career prime-time game with 7 receptions for 193 yards and that long touchdown, which is now the longest scoring pass play in the history of the franchise.

Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell also added a 5-yard touchdown run in the second quarter on his way to rushing for 76 yards on 25 total carries. Additionally, Roethlisberger threw for 317 yards in the win with one touchdown and one interception.

In a losing effort, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford threw for 423 yards as he completed 27 of his 45 total pass attempts in the game.

The Steelers will next play the Indianapolis Colts in Week 10 and that game will be on the road.

Elsewhere in Week 8 AFC North action, the Baltimore Ravens kept pace with the Steelers thanks to their Thursday night 40-0 win over the Miami Dolphins. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco completed 10 of his 15 pass attempts in that contest for 101 yards and a touchdown before exiting the contest in the first half with a concussion and cut ear that came courtesy of a vicious hit by Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso at the conclusion of a quarterback scramble.

Ravens running back Alex Collins chipped in 113 rushing yards in the win and the Baltimore defense returned two interceptions thrown by Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore for touchdowns. Ravens kicker Justin Tucker also had two long field goals in the win.

The 4-4 Ravens will now prepare to play the 4-3 Tennessee Titans on the road in Week 9.

The Cincinnati Bengals also won in Week 8 as they outlasted the Colts 24-23 at home on Sunday.

Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton completed 17 of his 29 total pass attempts for 243 yards and two touchdowns in the win and wide receiver A.J. Green caught one of those scoring passes on his way to finishing the game with three receptions for 27 yards.

Fellow Bengals wide receiver Josh Malone caught Dalton’s other touchdown pass on Sunday and Cincinnati defensive end Carlos Dunlop essentially won the game for his team by returning an interception thrown by Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett 16-yards for a touchdown with 6:58 left in the fourth quarter.

While the Bengals defense did allow Brissett to throw for 233 yards and two touchdowns against them on Sunday, they did sack the Colts quarterback a total of four times during the game.

The 3-4 Bengals will next play the 4-3 Jacksonville Jaguars on the road in Week 9.

The Cleveland Browns were the only AFC North team to lose in Week 8. The Browns remained winless on the season Sunday afternoon thanks to their 33-16 loss in London, England to the Minnesota Vikings.

Browns rookie quarterback Deshone Kizer completed 18 of his 34 total pass attempts for 179 yards in the loss. He was also sacked three times by the Vikings defense during the game.

While the Browns did lead the Vikings 13-12 at halftime thanks to two short scoring runs by Kizer and running back Isaiah Crowell, their defense gave up two second half touchdowns and two field goals in the final 30 minutes of play while their offense only managed a field goal.

Vikings quarterback Case Keenum threw for 288 yards in a winning effort and his two touchdown passes during the game went to wide receiver Adam Thielen and tight end Kyle Rudolph.

The now 0-8 Browns, like the Steelers, will be on a bye in Week 9. In Week 10, the Browns will play the Lions on the road.

  • Grant Humphrey

    I seriously thought the Browns could win 6 games this year but I guess some more bad luck for them.

  • Jason

    Preferring to take Kizer over Watson is a decision they’ll regret for a long time.

  • Kevin Schwartz

    Which is more likely – Browns close out the season 0-8, or Steelers close it out 8-0?

  • Kevin Schwartz

    Always questionable how any QB would so in that situation. Watson actually has weapons and a solid defense, with a team that went to the playoffs last year despite weak QB play.

  • Jeff Papiernik

    Browns 0-8. Look at their schedule. Point to their most likely win. I suppose GB at home now that Rogers is out?

  • melblount

    The “Common Games Record” and “Common Game Net Pts” columns data are not current.

  • melblount

    With SO MANY decisions to regret, I think they are well equipped to get over those gaffes quickly, or are simply numb to them at this point.

  • Daryl Bennett

    They are selling “Fire Marv” t-shirts on Cincy Jungle now.

  • Kevin Schwartz

    Hmmm… Bears are pretty weak, we could be resting our starters in Week 17, and the Chargers are known to have weak games. But, in general, I’d probably say Browns going 0-8 as well.

  • Good point. And the Browns are well the Browns. I couldn’t care less what they do but if they want Kizer to succeed, playing musical QBs with him won’t do him any favors. He’s a young guy with suspect weapons and a sub par defense. You are going to take your lumps with him. You got to roll with it.

  • If Garrett develops into a Clowney type player, that would surely soften the blow.

  • Dan

    Still there’s always a concern he could be replaced with a good coach.

  • Dan

    There hasn’t been any common games across all 4 teams. Bungles haven’t yet played our non-div oponents that’ve we’ve played.

  • Zombie Nixon

    Not for Watson…Browns would have destroyed his career.

  • melblount

    Agreed and good catch. Inclusion of the common games between four teams can’t be presented in that format for all users. I (sadly only) glanced at the chart and unfortunately thought it could. My mistake.

    That said, where I made the mistake was I keep my own NFL data charts from the Steelers perspective. Without getting too detailed, we have, for example played common games with BAL already. So I separately track those outcomes. That data can’t be included in the chart presented in this article.

  • Dan

    Yeah, actually the think the common games record isn’t particularly relevent when looking at it on the division level. More so for non-divisional seeding. Every game counts, but playing the Pats in a few weeks will really really count. 🙂

  • Matt Manzo

    I think they have too many decisions they regret to keep track!

  • melblount

    Hmmm…It’s actually very relevant as it is the 3rd tie-breaker for a Division Title.

    TO BREAK A TIE WITHIN A DIVISION

    If, at the end of the regular season, two or more clubs in the same division finish with identical won-lost-tied percentages, the following steps will be taken until a champion is determined.

    Two Clubs

    1. Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games between the clubs).
    2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division.
    3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games.

    Three or More Clubs

    (Note: If two clubs remain tied after third or other clubs are eliminated during any step, tie breaker reverts to step 1 of the two-club format).

    1. Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games among the clubs).
    2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division.
    3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games.

  • erock634

    At this point they traded the Eagles the pick used to get Wentz.

  • Dan

    Ahh, touché 🙂