Around the AFC North: Antonio Brown and Steelers Are Back on Track


Steelers: After two straight wins and back-to-back 100-yard receiving games from Antonio Brown, the defending AFC North champs are 3-2-1 and building momentum. Two weeks ago, the Ravens beat the Steelers, 26-14, and there was concern and controversy in Pittsburgh. The Ravens held the Steelers scoreless in the second half, and Brown (five catches, 62 yards, one touchdown) was held under 100 yards receiving for the fourth consecutive game.

However, Brown has caught fire the last two weeks. He had six catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns in Week 5 against Atlanta, and five catches for 101 yards on Sunday in Cincinnati, including the game-winning 31-yard touchdown in the final minute.

On Brown's touchdown, it looked like the Steelers could have been flagged for an illegal pick on Bengals cornerback Tony McCrae. However, NFL Senior Vice President of Officiating Al Riveron went to Twitter and explained that the play was legal.

Once again, Brown looks like the most explosive wide receiver in football, which is bad news for Steelers opponents.

In other Steelers news, Pittsburgh is still waiting to hear from running back Le'Veon Bell. Bell previously told ESPN that he would report during the team's bye week in preparation to play in Week 8, but he has not yet arrived, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Meanwhile, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has said he wants running back James Conner – who has run for more than 100 yards in back-to-back games – to still be heavily involved in the offense even if/when Bell returns.

Bengals: LB Vontaze Burfict Could Be Fined or Suspended – Again

After losing another late-game lead against Pittsburgh, the Bengals (4-2) are tied with the Ravens atop the division. Meanwhile, Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict is in more hot water after hitting Brown in the head with an elbow.

Burfict had nothing to say to the media following the game, but don't be surprised if the league office has plenty to say.

This was not the first time Burfict had gone after Brown in a Bengals-Steelers rivalry that has become nasty. During a playoff game in 2016, Burfict laid out Brown with another elbow hit to the head and was suspended for the first three games for what the league described as a pattern of dirty hits.

The Bengals have gotten used to playing without Burfict, who has not dressed for more than 11 games in any season since 2014. He was suspended for the first four games of this season for a violation of the performance enhancing drugs policy. They may soon be without Burfict again, as well leading tackler Nick Vigil, who sprained his knee.

Browns: Baker Mayfield Hard on Himself After Being Routed at Home By Chargers

One week after their victory over the Ravens, the Browns (2-3-1) were dominated, 38-14, by the Los Angeles Chargers. Cleveland rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield had the worst game of his young career, completing just 22 of 46 attempts with one touchdown and two interceptions.

Mayfield has been an instant hit since taking over as the starter, but he took full responsibility for not playing well.

"We did not execute, we did not do our job, we were not detailed," Mayfield said, via ESPN. "I am at fault for the majority of that. I am going to be very hard on myself.

Sounds like Mayfield is already being hard on himself. His presence has lifted hopes for Cleveland's fan base, and the Browns are still just one game under .500. Mayfield's chance to redeem himself comes Sunday when the Browns visit Tampa Bay.

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