The Steelers are back over .500. That’s not what Steeler Nation wanted to be thankful for half way through the season but they’re in a good position to take the AFC North.
The Steelers are back on top of the AFC North with their win over the Colts. Ok, technically they’re not on top as the Ravens have the head to head matchup because no matter how much better the Steelers are than the Ravens they must lose one to them. It’s a tradition, along with losing to a bunch of bad teams in the middle of the season.
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The arc of a Steelers season over the past few years goes as follows. First, preseason Super Bowl favorites. Second, come out of the gate racking up wins. Somewhere in the middle the season there are some injuries and they lose to a bunch of teams they have no business losing to regardless of injuries. Then they’re around .500. Which where we are now. To see where we’ll go, see next paragraph.
Now that Pittsburgh has thoroughly squandered any first week bye they might have had they turn it around. They start winning and then they make the playoffs. We can all look forward to a playoff run cut short because Vontaze Burfict injured a star or two on purpose. Can’t wait.
So the Steelers beat the Colts, who have become to the Steelers what the Steelers are to the Patriots, an, in-conference, out-of-division, team to kick around on the regular. The Colts are a solid team but they did have a lot of injuries. Regardless, they looked good. Happy Thanksgiving indeed.
The defense looked good, getting sacks and interceptions. Le’Veon Bell ran for 120 and 2 touchdowns. Antonio Brown got 3 touchdowns. Perhaps the best thing though is a pair of drive saving receptions from Ladarius Green totalling 67 yards. The Steelers have been looking for a second option for Brown down the field all season and hopefully Green keeps contributing.
The Ravens beat the Bengals. Early on the Steelers owned the division while the Bengals and Ravens fought for second. Now, they’re fighting the Steelers for the top spot. That’s not because the Ravens got better though, it’s more that the Steelers and Bengals got worse. They won by having a punter run into their own endzone, which is a win, I guess. Because pathetic ain’t illegal. *Winking Harbaugh.
The Bengals were missing Green but the Ravens defense still had a good game, as they do almost every game. They particularly stuffed the run game. Sacks and forced fumbles all over. Flacco had a decent game, spread the ball around, but the ground game performed better than it’s been.
The Bengals are pretty much out of playoff contention at this point. Any more than 2 wins from the Ravens or Steelers and the Bengals chances are over. So, they’re over. The Bengals have suffered from free agency losses all season but the absence that sank their season was that of A.J. Green on Sunday.
Even without Green, Andy Dalton had a good game. He threw for 283 and a touchdown. Tyler Eifert also pulled his weight with 68 yards and a touchdwn. The run game was not really there though. The defense had a good game, a couple sacks, an interception. They mostly held the Ravens offense. Fumbles were a big problem though.
Boy, the Browns are not good. They’re having a rough season, and century. This one was not McCown’s fault, except for some fumbles. It wasn’t a terrible game overall. What really made the difference was the Browns just couldn’t finish drives with touchdowns. These guys can’t wait for that bye week, or the season to end. I wonder if they’ll get a new coach and a new quarterback. No, I don’t.
McCown threw for 322 yards and a touchdown. Pryor came back with another big game, one of the few bright spots on the team this year. There were some fumbles though, 3 in total. They gave up a lot of sacks, 7 in total. The Browns have their moments, they just can’t get everything to come together for a whole game.
Next week the Steelers play the Giants. The Ravens play the Dolphins, because everyone in the AFC North has to. The Bengals are taking on the Eagles. The Browns, thankfully, get a bye week. I’ll be a tough game for the Steelers but they can win it, and they need to. They don’t have much room for error and they’re neck and neck with the Ravens, who have an extremely easy schedule.