AFC North Week 15 Recap: Steelers Retain Half-Game Lead Over Ravens


The Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday home win over the New England Patriots now means the team will remain the leaders of the AFC North division entering Week 16. Had the Steelers lost to the Patriots, however, they would have not only relinquished the division lead to the Baltimore Ravens but fallen to the No. 8 seed in the AFC as well. With that Sunday win over the Patriots now in the books the Steelers might have an opportunity to clinch the AFC North division next Sunday.

The Ravens remain a half game behind the Steelers entering week 16 thanks to them beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20-12 at home. In that win, Ravens rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson completed 14 of his 23 total pass attempts for 131 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. Jackson, who also rushed for 95 yards on 18 carries against the Buccaneers, tossed his lone touchdown pass to wide receiver Chris Moore from 5 yards out with 3:58 left in the first half.

Ravens running back Gus Edwards added 104 rushing yards in the win and he scored once via a 10-yard run with 10:03 left in the third quarter. Ravens kicker Justin Tucker added two field goals to close out Baltimore’s scoring on Sunday.

The Ravens defense intercepted Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston once during the game and sacked him once. Winston finished the game 13 of 25 passing for 157 yards with no touchdowns. Wide receiver Mike Evans caught 4 of those passes for 121 yards. The Buccaneers lone touchdown on Sunday came via a 3-yard run by running back Peyton Barber with 12:08 left in the second quarter and that score gave Tampa Bay a 7-0 lead. Barber finished the game with 85 yards rushing.

The Ravens will now get ready to play the Los Angeles Chargers on the road this coming Saturday night. A Ravens loss to the Chargers combined with a Steelers Sunday road win over the New Orleans Saints would result in Pittsburgh winning the AFC North division.

The AFC North’s two other teams, the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals, also both won in Week 15.

The Browns beat the Denver Broncos 17-16 on the road Saturday night as rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield completed 18 of his 31 total pass attempts for 188 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Mayfield’s touchdown passes went to wide receivers Breshad Perriman and Antonio Callaway. Browns rookie running back Nick Chubb also rushed for 100 yards on his 20 carries and the Cleveland defense intercepted Broncos quarterback Case Keenum twice and sacked him twice as well.

The 6-7-1 Browns, who are still mathematically alive in the AFC playoff race with two weeks remaining, will next play host to the Bengals before closing out their 2018 regular season on the road against the Ravens. They need a lot of other improbable help in the final two weeks of the season to make the playoffs.

As for the Bengals, who were officially eliminated from playoff contention on Sunday, they beat the Oakland Raiders at home 30-16. In the win, Bengals quarterback Jeff Driskel completed 14 of his 33 total pass attempts for 130 yards with one touchdown and one interception. His lone touchdown pass went to wide receiver Tyler Boyd, who left the game in the second half with a knee injury. Boyd finished with 4 receptions for 38 yards.

Bengals running back Joe Mixon rushed for 129 yards and two touchdowns on his 27 total carries in addition to catching 2 passes for a yard. Bengals kicker Randy Bullock chipped in three field goals in the win and the Cincinnati defense forced and recovered two fumbles in addition to sacking Raiders quarterback Derek Carr five times during the game. Three of those sacks were recorded by defensive tackle Geno Atkins with the other two being credited to rookie defensive end Sam Hubbard. Carr completed 21 of his 38 total pass attempts against the Bengals defense for 263 yards and a touchdown.

As previously mentioned, the Bengals will now look to close out their 2018 regular season with road games against the Browns and Steelers.

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