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Around the AFC North: Week 1 Recap across the division

Two humiliating losses and a bunch of injuries in the AFC North

San Francisco 49ers v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Week 1 in the AFC North is officially in the books. The Cleveland Browns had a statement win over the Cincinnati Bengals. The Baltimore Ravens managed to get a win over the Houston Texans but lost key players in the process.

As for the Pittsburgh Steelers, well the team suffered their worst home loss in the Mike Tomlin era to the San Francisco 49ers. Let’s not waste too much time getting to the recap.

San Francisco 49ers 30, Pittsburgh Steelers 7

For a team that was getting a ton of “sleeper” picks to come out of the AFC North as a playoff team, the Steelers looked anything but that. In fact, they were downright terrible. Offensively, it was a horrendous outing for Pittsburgh. The first five drives for the Steelers played out like this.

  • 3 and out
  • Turnover (Kenny Pickett threw an interception)
  • 3 and out
  • 3 and out
  • 3 and out

Considering how the offense looked lights out in the preseason against 2nd and 3rd stringers, it surprised some that Pittsburgh struggled but it was going against one of the best defenses in the NFL in the 49ers. Quarterback Kenny Pickett led the struggle and the offensive line pretty much was overwhelmed the entire game.

San Francisco had their way with the Pittsburgh defense. Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk had 8 catches for 129 yards, and running back Christian McCaffrey had over 150 yards rushing.

To make matters worse defensive end Cameron Heyward and wide receiver Dionate Johnson were lost for the game with groin and hamstring injuries. Offensive tackle Chukwuma Okorafor also left the game with a concussion and is in concussion protocol. Not many positives to take away from if you are a Steelers fan.

Baltimore Ravens 25, Houston Texans 9

Good news, the Baltimore Ravens were able to get an opening-day home victory against the Houston Texans. Bad news, the team suffered multiple injuries to their key players. Running back J.K. Dobbins honestly can’t catch a break. Head coach John Harbaugh reported that Dobbins suffered a torn Achilles and will miss the entire season. Dobbins has struggled with injuries in his career but this seems like a much more difficult one to accept.

Offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley and center Tyler Linderbaum also left with injuries. Safety Marcus Williams left the game with a shoulder injury and the fear is a torn pectoral muscle. However, some encouraging news was revealed by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport:

As far as the game goes Baltimore did what they were supposed to do against a team that is not as talented as them. The Ravens pass rush was a concern going into the season but the team racked up 5 sacks and 10 quarterback hits. Offensively, the wide receiver room made their appearance well-known. Rookie wide receiver Zay Flowers had this unforgettable moment aside from his 78 yards on 8 catches:

Former Cleveland wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr also made a cameo appearance:

Quarterback Lamar Jackson had a decent outing going 17/22 for 169 yards passing, he also led the team in rushing.

The biggest thing that has plagued the Baltimore Ravens have been injuries, let's just hope it doesn’t derail this team because this team has talent.

Cleveland Browns 24, Cincinnati Bengals 3

Forget the Cleveland Browns for a minute, let’s talk about the other team in Ohio.

If you can find a positive for the Cincinnati Bengals for this game let me know because to be blunt there aren’t any. It was a bad showing on both sides of the ball. Cincinnati was out-coached and outplayed, and it appeared that the team gave up midway through the 2nd half.

Wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase gave the Browns plenty of bulletin board material and he doubled down on it in some way.

Those “elves’’ had Chase in Alcatraz but that’s neither here nor there.

Quarterback Joe Burrow was bad, there is no sugarcoating it. Burrow couldn’t connect with his receivers, he was under duress from the Browns pass rush and struggled reading the field. The offensive line struggled in pass protection and in run blocking. Going 2 for 15 on 3rd down isn’t a winning formula either.

Defensively, the run defense struggled against running back Nick Chubb, as he averaged 6 yards per carry and had over 100 yards rushing.

Cincinnati has struggled against Cleveland. The Browns have the personnel defensively to give the Bengals offense trouble. Today it was clear to see. Cincinnati has a Cleveland problem and it’s not going away anytime soon.

Besides the Browns demolition of the Bengals, what stood out to you about the AFC North this week? Join the crowd in the comment section talking all things AFC North!