Around the AFC North: Steelers Loss Leaves Ravens Just ½ Game Back

120318_AroundAFCN

Steelers: RB James Conner Suffers Leg Injury, Pittsburgh Loses 16-Point Lead

Suddenly, the Ravens (7-5) are nipping at Pittsburgh's heels.

The Steelers (7-4-1) have dropped two straight after losing at home, 33-30, to the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday night. Pittsburgh had never lost a home game after leading by 16 points or more. But Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers engineered a masterful comeback that left the Ravens just a ½-game behind Pittsburgh.

Making matters worse for the Steelers, running back James Conner suffered a lower leg contusion, according to Head Coach Mike Tomlin, who did not offer a timetable for Conner's return.

Two weeks ago, Pittsburgh was on a six-game winning streak and held a 2 ½ game lead over the Ravens. Now the final four weeks will decide the AFC North champion.

The Steelers have a challenging remaining schedule, facing two teams of the NFL's top teams. The Steelers travel to Oakland (2-10) next weekend, followed by a home game against the New England Patriots (9-3), a road game against the New Orleans Saints (10-2), and a home season finale versus the Cincinnati Bengals (5-7).

Bengals: Green Carted Off With Foot Injury as Bengals Lose Fourth Straight

What was once a promising season for the Bengals has gone sour due to poor defensive play and injuries.

Cincinnati dropped its fourth straight game, 24-10, against the Denver Broncos, and did not generate much offense with Jeff Driskell starting at quarterback in place of injured Andy Dalton. Now the Bengals could be without Green, who left Sunday's game after suffering a non-contact foot injury. Green had missed the previous three games with a toe injury, and he became emotional Sunday before being carted off.

The Bengals would have to run the table to reach nine wins, and even that might not be enough to make the playoffs. Cincinnati's last victory came on Oct. 28 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bengals travel to Los Angeles to face the Chargers on Sunday.

Browns: Mayfield Goes Through Growing Pains in Houston

Cleveland learned why the Houston Texans are the NFL's hottest team, dropping a 29-13 decision. Rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield had a tough start, throwing three interceptions in the first half, and the Browns (4-7-1) lost for the first time in three weeks. It appears Cleveland will miss the playoffs for the 16th straight season, falling to 2-2 under interim Head Coach Gregg Williams.

Mayfield's development continues to be a top priority during the final month of the season. He has shown feistiness and talent leading the Browns to four victories, and even in defeat Sunday, Mayfield played much better in the second half.

The Browns believe Mayfield is their franchise quarterback. It remains to be seen who the Browns will settle on as their next head coach.

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