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Browns, Ravens Stumble; Steelers One Game Out of AFC North Lead

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AFC North Ravens QB Lamar Jackson Steelers

Despite starting the season 1-4, the Pittsburgh Steelers are just one game out of first place in the AFC North after the team’s upset win over the Tom Brady-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 20-18, on Sunday afternoon at Acrisure Stadium, and a little help from around the division.

The New York Giants rallied from 10 down to defeat the Baltimore Ravens, 24-20, while the Cleveland Browns got routed by the New England Patriots, 38-15.

The Cincinnati Bengals scored nine unanswered points in the fourth quarter to beat the New Orleans Saints, 30-26. After six weeks, the Ravens lead the division at 3-3, followed by the Bengals, who are also 3-3. The Ravens have the edge over the Bengals because of their win against Cincinnati in Week 5. The Browns and Steelers are both 2-4, with Cleveland having the tiebreaker since they defeated Pittsburgh in Week 3.

Early in the fourth quarter, Lamar Jackson found Mark Andrews for a 12-yard touchdown to put the Ravens up 20-10. Things went downhill for Baltimore after that, however. The Giants answered with a 12-play, 75-yard drive that got capped by a 12-yard touchdown pass from Daniel Jones to Daniel Bellinger. On the ensuing possession, Jackson picked up a fumbled snap and threw an ill-advised pass that got picked off by Julian Love, who returned it 27 yards to the Ravens’ 13-yard line. A few plays later, Saquon Barkley rushed for a 1-yard touchdown to put the Giants up 24-20, a lead they wouldn’t surrender. Giants’ first-round pick Kayvon Thibodeaux stripped-sacked Jackson, and Leonard Williams recovered the fumble to secure the win for New York.

The Browns got dominated by the Patriots at home, as they turned the ball over four times and were out-possessed, 35:05-24:55. Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett had a dreadful performance, completing 21 of 45 passes (46.7%) for 266 yards with one touchdown, two interceptions, and a quarterback rating of 54.5. In contrast, rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe was impressive for New England, completing 24 of 34 passes (70.6%) for 309 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions, and a quarterback rating of 118.4. To start the second half, Zappe capped a 7-play, 75-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Tyquan Thornton to increase the Patriots’ lead to 17-6.

After a Jalen Mills interception off Brissett, Zappe found Hunter Henry for a 31-yard touchdown to give the Patriots a 24-6 advantage with 5:32 left in the third quarter. Fourth-quarter touchdown runs by Thorton and Rhamondre Stevenson put the game away for New England. Thorton’s touchdown run was from 19 yards out, while Stevenson’s was a 6-yarder.

The duo of Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase did just enough to uplift the Bengals over the Saints. Burrow tossed three touchdowns and rushed for a 19-yard touchdown. Two of Burrow’s touchdown passes went to Ja’Marr Chase, the first one was a 15-yarder, and the second was the game-winner from 60 yards out. In addition to the two touchdown grabs, Chase had seven receptions for 132 yards (18.9 average). Evan McPherson nailed a 52-yard field goal to cut the Saints’ lead to 26-24 with 3:42 left in the game.

The Bengals then forced a three-and-out, which set up Burrow’s 60-yard touchdown pass to Chase to put Cincinnati up 30-26 with 1:57 remaining. Andy Dalton was unable to pull off a game-winning drive, as his pass intended for Marquez Callaway fell incomplete on fourth-and-17 from the Bengals’ 48-yard line. Dalton threw for just 167 yards, but the Saints gashed the Bengals on the ground by rushing for a whopping 228 yards on 34 carries (6.7 average). Alvin Kamara led the Saints with 99 yards rushing on 19 carries (5.2 average).

The Steelers have a Sunday Night Football matchup against the Dolphins in Miami next week. The Ravens will host the Browns, while the Bengals will face the Atlanta Falcons in Cincinnati.

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