Around the AFC North: Bengals Confirm A.J. Green Is Still Sidelined

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Bengals: A.J. Green Won’t Play Sunday Against Ravens

Star wide receiver A.J. Green, who has missed the entire season following ankle surgery, won’t play Sunday when the winless Bengals (0-5) visit Baltimore this Sunday.

First-year Cincinnati coach Zac Taylor made the announcement updating Green’s status Monday. According to Taylor, Green has not suffered any setbacks, but no specific timetable was given for his return.

“There will come a time where we start working him into individual work and then ease him into practice,” Taylor said.

Green, a seven-time Pro Bowler, has a long history of giving the Ravens fits. He scored three touchdowns in his last meeting with Baltimore. However, he’s played in just one game since last October.

Green isn’t the only receiver the Bengals are missing. John Ross (shoulder) was placed on injured reserve earlier this month, and Alex Erickson was placed in concussion protocol following Sunday’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

At 0-5, the Bengals are ranked next-to-last in total defense and have not scored more than 23 points in any game this season. Cincinnati is coming off a 26-23 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

Browns: Humbling Loss to San Francisco Raises Questions

A week after beating the Ravens, the Browns were woeful on Monday Night Football and lost 31-3 to the San Francisco 49ers. The Browns (2-3) were left with a litany of concerns, particularly on offense as they fell a game behind Baltimore (3-2) in the AFC North.

Baker Mayfield threw two interceptions and now leads the NFL with eight. His quarterback rating for the season is 68.5. Cleveland’s offensive line struggled to protect Mayfield, who was sacked four times.

NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger said watching the 49ers defensive line attack Mayfield was like watching “Shark Week” on the Discovery Channel.

The same Cleveland offense that produced more than 500 yards against the Ravens was held without a touchdown as Odell Beckham Jr. had one catch and Mayfield threw for just 100 yards.

This wasn’t what the Browns expected, being embarrassed five games into the season in front of a national television audience. San Francisco (4-0) remained undefeated and looked like the far superior team. Mayfield said the loss was more disturbing because the Browns couldn’t back up their win in Baltimore with another strong performance.

“To not stack a win is very unfortunate, but we knew that nothing carries over from last week,” Mayfield said via the team’s website. “We just have to come out and do our job. We’ll watch the film, be able to key in on some things and eliminate mistakes. That’s what the good teams do. In Baltimore, we did our job, we were physical. Tonight, we didn’t do our job. Obviously, when you lose like that, there’s a lot of things wrong.”

Which performance is closer to what Cleveland will be – the team that beat Baltimore, or the team that looked overmatched against the 49ers? That remains to be seen. Cleveland has a short week to prepare for another strong opponent, hosting the 4-1 Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

Steelers: Mike Tomlin Says Steelers Won’t Quit

At 1-4, Pittsburgh is off to its worst start since 2013, when the Steelers lost their first four games. They rallied to finish 8-8 and almost made the playoffs that season.

Head Coach Mike Tomlin didn’t let the Steelers feel sorry for themselves that season, and he won’t now, even with franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger out for the year and backup quarterback Mason Rudolph suffering a scary concussion during Sunday’s loss to the Ravens.

“We won’t make excuses for our current state,” Tomlin said following Sunday’s game. “We won’t seek sympathy for our current state."

As for Rudolph, he was at the Steelers’ facility Monday and was in good spirits, according to Pro Football Talk.

Tomlin said at his Tuesday press conference that Gordon “seemed to be doing fine”. But Rudolph will need to clear concussion protocol before he’s eligible to return. Tomlin would not speculate on when that would be.

The Steelers next travel to Los Angeles to meet the Chargers on Monday Night Football, and if third-string quarterback Devlin Hodges is the starter, Tomlin says he believes Hodges will react well, based on how he performed against the Ravens after Rudolph was injured. Hodges completed seven of nine passes for 68 yards and had a key 21-yard scramble for a first down.

“I thought he represented himself well,” Tomlin said. “He gave us a chance. You have to tip your hat to him. You are talking about a guy that didn’t make our opening 53. You also have to acknowledge that he has done some good things at every step along the way … that is why he is in the position that he is in.”

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