All four teams in the AFC North lost today in as gut-wrenching a fashion as you could imagine. It'd be bad enough for an entire division to go winless (especially when said division is arguably the best in the NFL), but for each of the four teams to lose games in which they held fourth-quarter leads, well that's a whole new level of disappointment.
Shutdown Corner recounts the carnage, listing the games in order of least to most crushing:
Baltimore Ravens 15, Indianapolis Colts 17 – The box score doesn't look too bad: A two-point loss to the undefeated Colts is nothing to hang your head at. But when you consider that the eventual game-winner for Indy was kicked by Matt Stover(notes), the long-time Ravens vet who was cut in the offseason and that the Ravens replacement for Stover's replacement missed a 30-yarder in the third quarter, then it hurts a bit. Throw in a first-and-goal from the 1-yard line that resulted in a field goal and, ouch.
Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Kansas City Chiefs 30 (OT) – Losing while giving up two touchdown returns of 95+ yards, dropping an interception before the play that put the Chiefs in overtime field-goal range, having another possible concussion suffered by Ben Roethlisberger(notes), outgaining their opponent by 257 yards and holding the ball for 19 more minutes than their opponent would all be bad enough. But when it comes against the woeful Chiefs, that's a whole other level.
Cleveland Browns 37, Detroit Lions 38 – We already recapped this one earlier today on Shutdown Corner. The Browns have the distinction of being the only NFL team to lose this year after the clock hit zero while they had the lead. But a pass interference penalty gave the Lions another untimed down and the rest is another chapter of Cleveland infamy. For any other team this would have rated as the biggest stomach punch of the day. But, for Browns fans, it's just another regular Sunday.
Cincinnati Bengals 17, Oakland Raiders 20 – This game was done. The division-leading Bengals held a seven-point lead with under one minute to go and the hapless Raiders, led by a quarterback (Bruce Gradkowski(notes)) who hadn't thrown a touchdown pass since 2006, were facing fourth-and-10 from near midfield. But, just like that, Chaz Schilens(notes) hauled in a first-down reception and then, on the next throw, Gradkowski hit Louis Murphy(notes) for the game-tying score. So it was going to overtime. Except that Andre Caldwell(notes) fumbled the kick return with 27 seconds remaining and the Raiders recovered and kicked a game-winning field goal 11 seconds later. From one play from victory to one return from overtime to another crushing loss, all in a span of 43 seconds. On the bright side, at least Cincy knows how to deal with late-game disappointment.