We saw a perfect example this week why the transitive property does not apply to the National Football League. The Cincinnati Bengals were set to face the Jacksonville Jaguars, while the Pittsburgh Steelers were matched up against the Tennessee Titans. If you believed in the transitive property, the Steelers would've lost because they were torn apart by Baltimore, while the Titans had handled them easily. Meanwhile, the Jaguars had defeated the Titans back in Week 1, so surely a win over the Bengals would be in store, right?
Not so. The Steelers handled the Titans with ease right from the get go despite having a lot of their starters out. Ben Roethlisberger threw for a career high five touchdown passes, and the ground game was very effective at moving the chains. Pressure also got to Matt Hasselbeck, making their offensive line look more vulnerable than they had all season. Everything I had hoped the Browns would do last week against the Titans, the Steelers did on Sunday. Pittsburgh won 38-17.
The final score of the other game was 30-20 with the Bengals coming out on top. In reality, the final score was 23-20; the Bengals just ran in for a touchdown as time expired when the Jaguars were trying a desperation series of laterals. It's still an impressive win for a Bengals team that I thought would be the worst team in football. Now, they sit at 3-2 heading into Week 6 and are a half game out of first place. This is more like the Bengals team that did well a couple of seasons ago, bringing a tough defense to the table and mixing in some clutch fourth quarter plays. The difference now is that they are building their fourth quarter success behind a group of young players, which is a good sign for their future.
The Browns, by default, fell to the cellar of the AFC North while on the bye. They still have a 2-2 record, but both of their wins came against winless teams. The Browns will definitely be the underdogs when they face the Raiders next Sunday, but it's time for Pat Shurmur to put together a better gameplan offensively and get them to execute more like they did a couple of weeks ago against the Indianapolis Colts on the road. Oakland got their emotional victory against the Texans this week with the passing of Al Davis, so the Browns might be in position to catch the Raiders napping.