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Around the AFC North: Andy Dalton on Hot Seat After Throwing Three Picks


Andy Dalton had a rough fourth quarter Sunday, throwing an interception on three consecutive possessions. The pick-six by Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue was a particularly low point for Dalton.

It was part of a 27-17 defeat that dropped the Cincinnati Bengals to 0-7 under first-year Head Coach Zac Taylor.

The struggles of Dalton and the entire team leave Taylor with an important decision as the Bengals prepare for their London game Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams. Should Cincinnati make the switch to rookie quarterback Ryan Finley, their fourth-round pick who could be their quarterback of the future? Taylor wasn't ready to say that when asked about it during his post-game presser.

"That's not something I'm going to talk about right now," Taylor said via the team’s website. "You know it's fresh after the game, (and) when the quarterback has a tough game, it's the first question.

"I think we do have to look at everything. We have to look at our overall approach because it's frustrating. We can't have big enough egos to where it's like, 'Oh, this player's been playing this position,' or, 'We have to continue to do it this way as a coach.' We've got to look at everything and make sure we're giving ourselves the best chance to get a win."

Dalton was asked if he thought he might be benched after he threw his third interception.

"No, I didn't think that," Dalton said.

However, Dalton admitted that his performance wasn't acceptable.

"It has to be better," Dalton said. "There were times we moved the ball well. But negative plays hurt us. You can't turn the ball over; I know that."

Steelers: Out of Concussion Protocol, Rudolph Back as Steelers Starter

Mason Rudolph is back as the Steelers' starting quarterback after suffering a scary concussion Week 5 against the Ravens. Pittsburgh (2-4) had a bye Sunday and will host the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football next week.

Rudolph did not play in Week 6 against the Los Angeles Chargers, but he cleared concussion protocol last week. Head Coach Mike Tomlin confirmed that Rudolph would return to his starting role after Devlin Hodges played well in Pittsburgh's victory in Los Angeles.

"He (Rudolph) is our quarterback when he clears the protocol," Tomlin said via the team’s website. "It's as simple as that. Appreciate the efforts of Duck (Hodges) and so forth, but as soon as he is ready to go, he is ready to go."

The Steelers are entering a three-game home stretch that could define their season. With the Ravens at 5-2, Pittsburgh needs a surge to get back into the division race. After hosting Miami, the Steelers will remain at home to host the Colts (4-2) in Week 9 and Rams (4-3) in Week 10.

Browns: GM Not Panicking as Browns Return After Bye

A 2-4 start isn't what the Browns expected after being a popular pick to win the AFC North. Since beating the Ravens in Week 4, the Browns have dropped two in a row. They had a chance to rest with a bye on Sunday, but their next game is a difficult assignment, hosting the unbeaten New England Patriots (6-0) in Week 8.

The Browns hope that a talented roster featuring wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, running back Nick Chubb, defensive end Myles Garrett and quarterback Baker Mayfield begins playing up to its potential.

Browns General Manager John Dorsey is using his past experiences to remain optimistic. He held the same title with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2015, when they started 1-5 but won 10 straight games to finish 11-5 and make the playoffs. Dorsey hopes the Browns catch fire in similar fashion.

"Slowly but surely, these guys are coming together," Dorsey said via the team’s website. "When I say 10 games are left, that is a lot of football. I have been in NFL football for three decades. In Kansas City in 2015, I want to say we were 1-5 and we ran 10 straight and then we eventually made it to the playoffs. Everybody within the building has to understand it is one of those moments where you have to reflect to attention to detail and move this thing forward with a sense of urgency, and that is what we are going to do."

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