If you are the Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Cincinnati Bengals you celebrated with a victory Monday (into Tuesday for Cincy). Sorry to the Baltimore Ravens, you have to wait until next Monday of the week following to experience this (we always plan around a Cleveland victory). The Browns put on a stifling performance against the Tennessee Titans, the Steelers left Sin City with a win over the Las Vegas Raiders and the Bengals dodged an 0-3 start with a win over the Los Angeles Rams.
Indianapolis Colts 22, Baltimore Ravens 19 F/OT
Talk about a tough loss. At this point, it’s hard to say whether this Ravens squad will go through one game without suffering any injuries to key players. Going into the game, the Ravens were already down left tackle Ronnie Stanley, center Tyler Linderbaum, wide receiver Odell Beckham, free safety Marcus Williams and cornerback Marlon Humphrey.
After their loss to the Colts, the injury list begins to grow.
Ravens reported injuries today: RB Gus Edwards (concussion); WR Rashod Bateman (hamstring); WR Tylan Wallace (hamstring); OLB David Ojabo (ankle); S Geno Stone (ribs).— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiec) September 25, 2023
A few others limped off. Ravens badly need some guys back. It's untenable w/how many guys they lose every wk
As far as the game goes, the weather wasn’t favorable for either side but Baltimore’s offense was pretty sloppy after a promising first drive. Whether it was fumbles, penalties or their inability to finish drives it wasn’t a good day for the Ravens offense. Quarterback Lamar Jackson had two touchdowns on the ground but he was sacked 4 times. Baltimore’s defense played well enough for the team to win but terrible officiating (Cleveland Browns fans can relate) and special teams blunders (Browns fans relate to that too) derailed the team’s chances of winning.
Refs missed a big pass interference call on the Colts defense.— Arye Pulli (@AryePulli) September 24, 2023
Zay Flowers was upset. pic.twitter.com/iOTBOiECSs
It doesn’t get easier for Baltimore, as they will travel to Cleveland to take on the Browns next Sunday so let’s hope the Ravens can get some guys back because this team is pretty talented when they are healthy.
Pittsburgh Steelers 23, Las Vegas Raiders 18
If you love archaic offenses with no creativity, Steelers-Raiders on Sunday night was for you. To be blunt, the NFL could’ve made this game a late afternoon game instead of a prime-time one but that’s not important.
Pittsburgh’s offensive coordinator Matt Canada has been under intense scrutiny, and rightfully so. When your home crowd starts chanting “Fire Canada” that’s not a good sign. As far as the game goes, it wasn’t entertaining but it was an okay watch. Pittsburgh’s offensive line is really struggling right now in terms of run blocking, the lanes are clogged and bodies aren’t getting moved. Running back Najee Harris shouldn’t be the lead back anymore, Jaylen Warren should be. Warren has better vision, burst and finds the holes that are there, unlike Najee.
Quarterback Kenny Pickett was decent, he showed off his mobility on a few plays but not a needle-moving performance. The Steelers used play action and it worked effectively (they should use it more often) but Pickett was kept clean by his offensive line as he was only sacked once. Pittsburgh’s defense was solid but they were going up against the Las Vegas Raiders offense which doesn’t terrify anyone. Head coach Josh McDaniels isn’t meant to be a head coach, and this quote sums it up.
No one should be moved by the Steelers barely beating a below-average Raiders team. The defense is fine but the offense as a whole isn’t good. Quarterback might not be as good as some thought, the offensive line is suspect and the running game is non-existent. The passing game, outside of wide receiver George Pickens, is also uninspiring.
Los Angeles Rams 16, Cincinnati Bengals 19
If the Bengals lost this game, I’m pretty confident that this team’s season would’ve slowly unraveled. It didn’t happen. The defense carried the team despite the offense’s subpar performance.
Head coach Zac Taylor is someone who benefits from a talented team but doesn’t bring much value to the team itself. He’s average at best, but let’s be real he’s being carried by a talented team and if this team wasn’t good he would’ve been fired a long time ago.
Cincinnati’s offense is not good right now. Quarterback Joe Burrow wasn’t great but he made the plays he needed to make for his team to win the game. Essentially Burrow was a game manager. 26/49 (49 attempts on an iffy calf?) 259 yards passing on 53% completion. The Bengals play calling in the first half was really questionable. If your quarterback is not 100%, why would you have him throw the ball 33 times?
Make it make sense.
Defensively, defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo deserves his flowers. It might not be star-studded but the unit plays well, despite the group not playing well for the past two weeks.
Bengals defense on MNF:— PFF (@PFF) September 26, 2023
1 TD allowed pic.twitter.com/dSCRpJIf47
Linebacker Logan Wilson was everywhere and defensive end Trey Hendrickson had a day. The Bengals are a talented team but something feels off about them this year. The offensive line is still an issue in pass protection, and when you have your quarterback playing at less than 80% then that’s a problem.
A win is a win, I guess but it’s not impressive by any means.