Since there’s no Steelers game today, here’s a look at how their rivals around the AFC North did…
Ravens 31, Broncos 17: Total domination. There’s really not much else to say about this as it wasn’t anywhere near as close as the final score indicates. Denver was never a threat to compete in this game and it was all Baltimore from the opening kickoff. Joe Flacco was OK, but he didn’t need to be anything other than that because the Ravens ran all over Denver, including another 100-yard performance from Ray Rice.
Falcons 20, Browns 10: To call this game sloppy would be a comical understatement. The Falcons had a couple of lengthy drives in the first half that fizzled once they entered the red zone, and were actually trailing 10-6 at one point. Matt Ryan, after a sluggish start, finally hit Roddy White for a 45-yard touchdown in the third quarter for the go-ahead — and what proved to be — game-winning score.
Seneca Wallace started for the Browns and looked pretty decent throwing a lot of check downs and screen passes, but didn’t really go down field all that much. He had to leave the game with an ankle injury and was replaced by Jake Delhomme who clearly is not 100 percent, and he struggled mightily, throwing two picks and almost had what would have been a third in the end zone.
The play of the day was turned in by Falcons defensive end Kroy Biermann who batted a Delhomme screen pass into the air, made a diving interception, and then returned to his feet and rumbled 41 yards for a touchdown.
Peyton Hillis looked like a nice player coming out of the backfield for Cleveland, displaying some athleticism on the first play from scrimmage when he hurdled Shippensburg alum (PSAC, baby) Brent Grimes. Later in the half he made a nice play to haul in a 19-yard touchdown pass. He, too, appeared to be banged up throughout the game.
Buccaneers 24, Bengals 21: Carson Palmer, ladies and gentlemen. It looked as if Tampa Bay was going to let this one slip away thanks to a couple of turnovers deep in Cincinnati territory, as well as one deep in its own territory, and then Carson Palmer happened.
With the Bengals leading by seven points with three minutes to play, Palmer threw an interception to Aqib Talib that set Tampa Bay up at mid field. Five plays later, Mike Williams caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Josh Freeman for the game-tying score.
The Bengals then got the ball back with 1:30 to play, and after a nine-yard pass to Terrell Owens was called back due to offensive pass interference, Palmer threw yet another interception, this time setting the Buccaneers up at the Cincinnati 34-yard line. Two plays later, Connor Barth kicked a 31-yard field goal for the win.
And all of this happened after Palmer threw an absolutely brutal pick six to Steelers Lounge favorite, and folk hero, Cody Grimm.