The Cleveland Browns needed every last yard in Carolina to win in Week 1. Cade York’s epic game-winning field goal looks even bigger when taking a gander around the AFC North.
Cleveland needed the win to stay with the pack early, with three of the four teams in the division seizing victories in Week 1. But they could be Pyrrhic victories for Baltimore and Pittsburgh, while the Bengals have some major clean-up to do after an error-filled loss to the Steelers.
Here’s a quick look around the AFC North division and the aftermath of Week 1.
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The Ravens soundly defeated the New York Jets, 24-9, with a strong performance from QB Lamar Jackson and two TD receptions from WR Devin Duvernay. But the victory came with a heavy cost.
On Monday, Ravens coach John Harbaugh announced that two starters were lost for the year with serious injuries. CB Kyle Fuller has a torn Achilles and left tackle JaWuan James tore his ACL in the win. Harbaugh has some roster shuffling to do to get his team ready for its home opener against the 1-0 Miami Dolphins in Week 2.
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The Bengals completely dominated the statistical matchups with the Steelers but still found a way to lose. Five turnovers–all from QB Joe Burrow–will do that to a team.
Critical mistakes doomed the Bengals, from a poor snap on kicker Evan McPherson’s overtime missed FG to Burrow’s uncharacteristic giveaways. The errant snap came because longtime Bengals long snapper Clark Harris was injured earlier in the game. Reports are Harris tore his biceps and will miss the rest of the season.
The Bengals attempt to regroup with a trip to Dallas in Week 2, facing a Cowboys team that will be without injured QB Dak Prescott and a cavalcade of injury issues along the offensive line.
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The Steelers win over the Bengals was the kind of oddball victory that is difficult to replicate. Cincinnati’s self-destructive game makes it easy to overlook a truly dismal performance from the Steelers offense.
Pittsburgh managed just 13 first downs and 267 total yards of offense in the overtime game. That level of production won’t carry the day often, and it will be even harder now that Pittsburgh’s defensive leader, T.J. Watt, is out for at least the next six weeks with a pectoral injury. There is the prospect Watt will be out for the rest of the season with a torn pec, pending a second opinion on his injury.
#Steelers OLB T.J. Watt is getting a second and third opinion on his torn pec, according to @AdamSchefter. Typically, surgery would put a player out for the year. If he's getting two other doctors' opinions, it'd seem like the first one recommended surgery.
— Neal Coolong (@NealCoolong) September 12, 2022
Running back Najee Harris left the stadium in a walking boot and could miss several weeks with a high ankle sprain, too.
Pittsburgh hosts the 0-1 New England Patriots in Week 2 before heading to Cleveland a week later. It’s extremely unlikely either Watt or Harris will play vs. the Browns, based on current prognoses.