Around the AFC North: Steelers and Browns Blown Out in Week 1

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The Ravens woke up Monday morning in sole possession of first place in the AFC North after Week 1. Here’s what happened around the rest of the AFC North:

Browns: After Much Offseason Hype, Cleveland Struggles in Opener

What’s next for the Cleveland Browns?

Entering the season with lofty expectations, the Browns struggled in their season-opener at home, losing 43-13 to the Tennessee Titans. A myriad of problems led to the Browns’ demise. They committed 18 penalties and Baker Mayfield was sacked five times and threw three interceptions.

While the Browns’ new weapons, especially wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., drew a lot of attention this offseason, it’s the offensive line could be a sore spot. It didn’t help their cause Sunday when left tackle Greg Robinson was ejected for kicking a Titans player in the head.

Mayfield remained confident after the game, saying the Browns wouldn’t be defined by one game.

“Everybody’s going to throw us in the trash, and I think that’s good,” Mayfield said via Jake Trotter of ESPN.

Beckham made headlines for wearing an expensive watch during Sunday’s game, but he was held to seven catches for 71 yards. Beckham noticed Browns faced fans leaving well before the game ended. He hopes not to see that again.

“For those fans, we don’t want to see them leaving with nine minutes left in the third quarter,” Beckham said via Cleveland.com. “I know there’s been losing around here, but that’s not what we’re here to do. We’ve got to have everybody stick with us, the fans as well, as this team has to come together and we each got to play better.”

Steelers: Questions Persist About Offense Without Antonio Brown

The lack of offensive production was a major topic in Pittsburgh following a 33-3 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football. Just how much the Steelers will miss star wide receiver Antonio Brown remains to be seen. But his name was a taboo topic in the locker room following Sunday’s defeat.

Asked how he felt about Brown joining the Patriots after being released by the Oakland Raiders, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger gave a one-word response.

“Whatever,” Roethlisberger said, via YahooSports.com.

Steelers guard Ramon Foster had more to say about Brown, but not much more.

“Please don’t ever ask me about him again,” Foster said. “I ask that respectfully.”

However, questions about the Steelers offense will persist this week. Over the previous six years, Brown caught at least 101 passes every season, topped 1,250 yards every season, and caught at least nine touchdown passes every season for Pittsburgh. That’s a major hole to fill.

Now JuJu Smith-Schuster is Pittsburgh’s top receiver, but life for him could be much tougher without Brown drawing so much attention from the opposing defense. Smith-Schuster had six catches for 78 yards Sunday. New starting wideout Donte Moncrief had three catches for seven yards and multiple drops.

The Steelers will look to bounce back in their home opener Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks. Starting the season with a humbling defeat certainly provides Pittsburgh with motivation.

“Man, no need to sugarcoat it,” Tomlin said. “We weren’t ready for prime time. It’s humbling. It sucks. But that’s the National Football League. It won’t define us if we don’t let it.”

Bengals: Positives Can Be Found in One-Point Loss

Zac Taylor was almost victorious in his debut as Cincinnati’s head coach, but the Bengals dropped a 21-20 road decision to the Seahawks. However, the Bengals’ passing attack was excellent.

Andy Dalton threw for career-high 418 yards, which was more impressive because the Bengals didn’t have injured star wide receiver A.J. Green. John Ross, the team’s ninth-overall pick in 2017 who struggled mightily his first two seasons, caught seven passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns.

The Bengals host the San Francisco 49ers in Week 2, and Taylor believes his team is on the right track.

“I’m disappointed we lost the game, but not with the effort,” Taylor told the team’s website. “We’re going to win a lot of games with those guys if we play like we did today.”

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