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.