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Around the AFC North: Steelers Continue Narrow Escapes

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger

Pittsburgh Steelers: Tomlin Warns Steelers About Close Victories

The Pittsburgh Steelers were involved in another nail-biter, but they are still undefeated.

That has become a pattern for the Steelers, who are 8-0 for the first time in franchise history. They have won five games by seven points or less, including the last three.

The Steelers trailed for most of Sunday's 24-19 victory over the struggling Dallas Cowboys (2-7) , who were playing third-string quarterback, Garrett Gilbert. Like the week prior's win over the Ravens, the Steelers knocked away a pass in the end zone to preserve the win as time expired.

Head Coach Mike Tomlin was happy about the win, but realistic about the performance.

"Obviously, we can't keep having these conversations every week, because one of these weeks, we're going to be doing it with an L if we're not careful," Tomlin said via "But we're thankful to win today."

The Steelers fell behind 13-0 and had a scare when Ben Roethlisberger took a blow to the knee.

Roethlisberger completed the touchdown drive after his injury, before going to the locker room to have his knee checked out. Once there was no knee damaged detected, Roethlisberger returned and said he didn't think about the injury.

"Someone hit me on the right side of the knee," Roethlisberger said. "Felt like it kind of bent my knee a little bit. Part of the game of football. Have some discomfort, and so we thought, end of the half, we'll head in and get it looked at. Doc just wanted me to keep him updated in the second half, so I was just keeping it loose and keeping it warm."

Roethlisberger carried the Steelers, throwing for 306 yards and three touchdowns. Pittsburgh's rushing attack was anemic, as James Conner led the way with just 22 yards. However, the defense held firm in the clutch, shutting out Dallas in the fourth quarter as Pro Bowl safety Minkah Fitzpatrick broke up Gilbert's final pass of the game in the end zone.

By engineering the 34th fourth-quarter comeback of his career, Roethlisberger is guaranteed his 17th straight non-losing season, the most consecutive non-losing seasons of any player in history.

The Steelers know they need to play better football with Kansas City (8-1), Buffalo (7-2), Tennessee (6-2) and the Ravens (6-2) pursuing them for the best record in the AFC. But Pittsburgh remains in the AFC North driver's seat heading into the second half of the season.

"I wish that I played better early in the game," Roethlisberger said. "But that's the way it is. If we have to have a situation like this where we have to score late or win in the fourth quarter, as long as we win, I'll take it."

Cleveland Browns: Optimism for Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb to Play Sunday

Coming off a bye, the Browns are trying to get healthier. Quarterback Baker Mayfield was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list over the weekend, not for testing positive, but for coming in close contact with a staff member who tested positive. Mayfield hopes to return to practice Wednesday.

Star running back Nick Chubb has been out since Oct. 4 with a knee injury, but is expected back at practice this week and hopes to play Sunday.

After losing wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (knee) for the season, the Browns (5-3) need as many healthy weapons as possible. Their offense has been dreadful in their three losses – scoring six points against the Ravens and Las Vegas Raiders and seven points against the Steelers. Hoping to make the playoffs for the first time since 2002, the Browns host the Houston Texans (2-6) Sunday.

Cincinnati Bengals: Bad Showing Against Ravens Didn't Faze Burrow

It's not hard to pick out the worst game of the season for Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow. It came against the Ravens in Week 5 when he completed a season-low 19 passes, threw an interception, and lost a fumble forced by Patrick Queen.

But since that 27-3 loss to Baltimore on Oct. 11, Burrow has been rolling. The Bengals (2-5-1) have won two of their last three games and come off a bye week believing they can upset the Steelers in Pittsburgh on Sunday. Part of that confidence comes from Burrow, the rookie quarterback who has a 99.2 passer rating in his last three games since struggling against the Ravens.

CBS analyst Boomer Esiason believes Burrow will make the Bengals a tough opponent in the second half of the season.

"He was ready for this," Esiason said via "There's not anything this kid can't do on the field.

"He got his [butt] beat in Baltimore … and he came back the next three games and he played like that game didn't exist. He's got the mind of a point guard and he has the athleticism of a great basketball player, but he has the intangibles to play quarterback."

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