While the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-20 Sunday win over the Cincinnati Bengals wasn’t the prettiest victory, it still counts nonetheless. As a result of it, the Steelers will remain the leaders of the AFC North heading into Week 16 with a 9-5 record.
After falling behind 20-6 to the Bengals late in the first half, the Steelers proceeded to score 18 unanswered points with 15 of them coming in the second half. The Steelers defense played extremely well in the second half as they held the Bengals offense to just 38 net yards on four possessions. That came after three big first half penalties by the defense that allowed the Bengals to get out to a big lead.
While the Steelers offense was able to move the football some throughout the game, they ultimately had to rely on kicker Chris Boswell to bail them out a total of six times. Boswell had three 49-yard field goals in the game in addition to three others from shorter distances.
It was a gutsy and much-needed win.
While the Bengals escaped penalties that should have been called on them for most of the game, they more than made up for late in the contest. At one point, Cincinnati was flagged on four consecutive plays and that played a big part in them ultimately losing at home and being eliminated from playoff contention.
Elsewhere in the AFC North on Sunday, the Baltimore Ravens beat the Philadelphia Eagles at home 27-26. They won the game after the Eagles chose to go for two with after quarterback Carson Wentz scored from 4-yards out with 4 seconds left in regulation. Had the Eagles kicked the extra-point, the game would have gone into overtime.
In a winning effort, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco completed just 16 of his 30 total pass attempts for 206 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. The Ravens also registered 151 net yards rushing in the win.
The Ravens win keeps them one game behind the Steelers in the AFC North and those two teams will meet Christmas night in Pittsburgh.
The Cleveland Browns lost Sunday 33-13 to the Buffalo Bills. The still winless Browns gave up 451 net yards of offense to the Bills and Buffalo running back LeSean McCoy rushed for 153 yards and two touchdowns in his team’s win.
Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III completed 17 of his 28 total pass attempts for 196 yards in a losing effort. He also led his team in rushing with 48 yards and a touchdown on 8 carries.
In Week 16, the Bengals will play the Houston Texans on the road while the Browns will host the San Diego Chargers.
The Steelers will enter Week 16 as the No. 3 seed in the AFC thanks to their win Sunday. They could still potentially get the No. 2 seed depending on how things play out during the final two weeks of the regular season.