Hope everyone's morning is off to a good start. As you know, the AFC North teams are off to average starts. The Ravens, Steelers and Bengals are all atop the division with 1-1 records. These teams are fitting in with the rest of the league. Of the 32 NFL teams, 20 0f them are 1-1, which is the most in league history. I'll let you know in the afternoon how I sorted through these 1-1 teams in the ESPN.com Power Rankings. Here's the rest of your wake-up call ...
BENGALS: The Bengals have allowed their first two opponents of the season to gain more than 400 yards for the first time since 1991, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. The 71 points allowed (44 by the Ravens and 27 by the Browns) are the second-most allowed by a Mike Zimmer defense. “It’s not good," Zimmer told reporters. "There’s lots of things we’re not doing good right now Every aspect of it surprises me." The Bengals' defense, which finished No. 7 a year ago, is now ranked 30th.
BROWNS: The Plain Dealer says the Browns can forget about the playoffs if they lost to the Bills on Sunday. Since 1990, only three teams have started 0-3 and made the playoffs. The most recent team to do that was the 1998 Bills. "Right now, it's easy to just lay down your hat and be like, 'You know what? The season's over with. We don't have it,'" linebacker D'Qwell Jackson told the paper. "But we have a long season to go and if you can stay upbeat, things may turn around." Not sure if anyone really thought the Browns would be going to the playoffs this season anyway. Solidifying the quarterback spot with Brandon Weeden and reaching six wins would be more realistic goals for Cleveland this season.
RAVENS: As we addressed Monday, the play calling on third-and-short was suspect. Coach John Harbaugh, though, had no problems with throwing the ball instead of running it after reviewing the film. “We had some options in there to throw or run, a lot of it was called passes, all things we have a lot of confidence in,” Harbaugh said Monday, via the team's website. “I feel good about that, and I think we’re going to make [the] most of those, but we didn’t. I’m disappointed by the fact that we didn’t convert those. I think most times as we go forward here, as we build this -- especially with this young offense – that putting it in their hands and giving them chances to make plays is going to be the thing to do." Putting the ball in the hands of Ray Rice seemed to be the smart play for at least one of those third-and-short plays in the second half.
STEELERS: When fans think of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, they typically remember the plays in which he shrugs off a defender, rolls out of the pocket and completes a pass downfield with some improvisational flair. According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Roethlisberger did most of his damage Sunday against the Jets by standing in the pocket, completing 17 of 21 passes for 177 yards. His passer rating as a pocket passer was 117.7.While Roethlisberger didn't leave the pocket, he had to elude pressure several times before throwing downfield.