LAS VEGAS — It’s hard to imagine considering how their season got started, and how shakily they’ve looked at times over the first three weeks, but the Pittsburgh Steelers will finish the month of September in first place in the AFC North.
The Steelers rebounded from their disastrous 30-7 drubbing by the San Francisco 49ers in the first week of the season by gutting out a pair of prime-time victories over the Cleveland Browns last Monday and the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday night.
The wins moved the Steelers to 2-1, in a three-way tie with the Browns, who rolled over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, and the Baltimore Ravens, who stumbled against the Indianapolis Colts.
By virtue of their head-to-head win over the Browns and better conference record than the Ravens, the Steelers hold all the tiebreakers over Cleveland and Baltimore. The Bengals, who play on Monday night, are 0-2 and alone in last.
Being in first place three weeks in — especially in a three-way tie — is nothing to write home about. But the way the Steelers have rebounded from a season-defining loss to the 49ers definitely is.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said on Sunday that he wasn’t seeking confidence for his team — just victories. Rookie nose tackle Keeanu Benton said he didn’t think the team ever lost its confidence, even after that first loss and several key early injuries.
“We kind of beat ourselves that first game,” Benton said. “We had to fix some things. … It wasn’t perfect, but everything was together. We got after it.”
AFC NORTH STANDINGS
|Browns||2-1||1-1||2-1||CIN 1-0, PIT 0-1|
|Bengals||0-2||0-2||0-2||CLE 0-1, BAL 0-1|
UPCOMING AFC NORTH SCHEDULE
Monday, Sept. 25, 8:15 p.m. Los Angeles Rams at Bengals
Sunday, Oct. 1, 1 p.m. Ravens at Browns
Sunday, Oct. 1, 1 p.m. Steelers at Houston Texans
Sunday, Oct. 1, 1 p.m. Bengals at Tennessee Titans