Around the AFC North: Bengals Part Ways With Marvin Lewis; Steelers Left Out of Playoffs

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Bengals: Marvin Lewis Out After 16 Seasons

Marvin Lewis and the Cincinnati Bengals have mutually parted ways after a 16-year run. Lewis is the winningest coach in franchise history (131-122-3), but Cincinnati's third straight losing season (6-10) spelled the end.

Only Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots (19 season) had a longer tenure than Lewis among active coaches. This is a crossroad moment for the Bengals, who had regular-season success under Lewis, but who never won a playoff game (0-7) with him at the helm.

"I want to thank the Bengals' organization, the fans and the city of Cincinnati for their support," Lewis said in the statement. "I regret I haven't been able to provide them with the No. 1 goal of being world champions. I also want to thank our players, coaches and team employees for their effort and professionalism over the past 16 years. A lot of fine people have gone through this building in that time, and the organization is better for all of them having been a part of it."

Cincinnati finished last in the AFC North this season, in a division that remains highly competitive. The Ravens won the division with a rookie quarterback, Lamar Jackson. The Cleveland Browns (7-8-1) improved by seven wins with a rookie quarterback, Baker Mayfield. The Steelers Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7-1) nearly won the division with Ben Roethlisberger, a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback who showing no sign of decline.

Maybe some of those factors weighed into the Bengals' decision to make a change. But for the first time since 2003, the Bengals will begin next season with a new coach.

Steelers: Soul-Searching Begins After Missing Playoffs

Beating the Bengals was not enough to save the Steelers, who were overtaken for the division title by the Ravens. The Steelers hung around Heinz Field to watch the end of the Ravens-Browns game, only to see C.J. Mosley seal the division title with his interception.

Pittsburgh once held a 2 ½ game lead in the division but lost four of its last six games. The Steelers are on the outside looking in for the first time since 2013.

Though he's hinted at retirement in years past, Roethlisberger said after the game that he looked forward to next season, feeling the Steelers' window for success had not closed.

"I'm 36 years old," Roethlisberger said, via ESPN.com. "I'm pretty sure I'll be 37 by the season next year. I'm not getting any younger, but I still feel good. Like I said, we keep that line together, that'll give us a good, fighting chance."

All four of the Steelers' late-season losses were by seven points or less. But instead of playing meaningful games in January, Pittsburgh won't be playing again until next season.

Browns: Who Will Next Head Coach?

The Browns fell just short of a comeback victory against the Ravens. However, Cleveland (7-8-1) almost finished with a winning season, including a 5-3 record under Gregg Williams, who became interim head coach after Hue Jackson was fired.

Did Williams do enough to convince the Browns he should be their next head coach? Williams made it clear after Sunday's game that he would love the opportunity.

"I really like this young team," Williams said. "I said this before, I turned down multiple jobs to come to Cleveland. I really wanted the opportunity to come here. I really love living in Cleveland. I love the people in Cleveland. … My evaluation was that's a good, young team. Hopefully, the ownership listened to me at the time they interviewed me when you all didn't even know they were interviewing me in a secret place outside of the city and I made a choice to be there. And, we will see what happens now."

With Baker Mayfield, the Browns have found their quarterback of the future. Now the focus will turn to finding a head coach.

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