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Around the AFC North: Myles Garrett Says Struggling Browns 'Have to Win Next Two'

Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) pursues a play on defense against the New England Patriots during an NFL football game in Cleveland, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022.

Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett Says Browns 'Have to Win Next Two' Before Deshaun Watson Returns

Playoff hopes have become tenuous for the Browns (3-6) who were dominated by the Dolphins, 39-16, on Sunday.

Cleveland's defense had no answer for Tua Tagovailoa, who threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns, and the Browns will face more top quarterbacks this month. They visit Josh Allen and the Bills in Week 11, followed by a home game against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in Week 12. 

All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett said the Browns can't wait until quarterback Deshaun Watson returns from his 11-game suspension in Week 13 to save their season.

"We have to win the next two," Garrett said via Mary Kay Cabot of "First we have to win the Bills (game) and then we'll get on to the next one. But we're looking to the future. We have to win both of them."

The Miami loss was a disheartening performance for Cleveland's defense, as the Dolphins never punted and produced almost 500 yards (491) of total offense. The Browns were coming off a bye week and should have been fresh, but their defense was overpowered.

"They weren't really trying to run around guys, they were running through us," safety John Johnson III said.

Facing Allen and Brady back-to-back will be a daunting task for Cleveland's defense, but Garrett said the Browns have no choice but to embrace it.

"It's difficult, but it's not impossible," Garrett said. "So we're gonna go out there and play every game like it's our last, because it might as well be."

Pittsburgh Steelers: Minkah Fitzpatrick's Appendectomy Is Latest Challenge for Defense

The Steelers (3-6) received unexpected bad news over the weekend when star safety Minkah Fitzpatrick underwent an emergency appendectomy on Saturday. Fitzpatrick didn't play in Sunday's 20-10 victory over the Saints and is expected to be out multiple weeks.

Beating the Saints was a good way for the Steelers to start their time without Fitzpatrick, as All-Pro pass rusher T.J. Watt (four tackles, one quarterback hit) made his return from a pectoral injury following a nine-week absence.

Watt said he felt good, considering how long he had been away.

"I mean aside from my legs feeling like wet noodles," Watt said via Brooke Pryor of "That was about it."

Domantae Kazee, who entered the starting lineup at safety in place of Fitzpatrick, contributed four tackles and an interception, and the Saints didn't score in the second half. Rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett (18-for-30, 199 yards, no interceptions) didn't make any costly mistakes, but the Steelers will be counting on their defense to carry them in the second half of the season. Kazee thinks the unit is up to that challenge.

"At the end of the day, we just know as DBs, it always comes down to us," Kazee said. "And just know when Mink gets back, it's gonna be a crazy story."

Cincinnati Bengals: Being 5-4 Doesn't Faze Bengals After Last Season

When the Bengals were 5-4 entering their bye last year, not many people outside their locker room expected them to reach the Super Bowl. With a 5-4 record again following their bye, the Bengals are preparing for a key road game against Pittsburgh in Week 11, and Head Coach Zac Taylor likes the vibe he's getting from his team.

"We know we've been in this exact position," Taylor said, via Geoff Hobson of the team’s website. "We know what it took to get to where we wanted to be.

"We need to focus on beating Pittsburgh and really going from there. But there is also like, 'Okay, we've been here and we know what it's going to take and we know that it's a difficult road.' But I think there's a lot of confidence there with our group."

One reason for Taylor's confidence is the play of quarterback Joe Burrow, who is completing a career-high 70.0 percent of his passes through nine games. Taylor says Burrow is a better quarterback than last year when Cincinnati made its run to the Super Bowl.

"He's learned how to quickly adjust and he just keeps the sticks moving forward at all times," Taylor said. "That's what gives me confidence, really, calling any pass we've got. I've got a lot of confidence to call everything on the menu and know he's going to find the right answer."

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