AFC North Roundup: Week One

By: T.J. Zuppe

  • New England Patriots 38 – Cincinnati Bengals 24

Quick Recap:

The Cincinnati Bengals (0-1) began their season in a way that many did not envision. It was not just the loss that surprised many, but it was the manner in which they played, getting absolutely owned in every facet of the game, by the New England Patriots (1-0).

After a minor car accident during the week, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady bounced back well and proved there is no reason for concern. He tossed three touchdowns, two of which to his favorite target, wide receiver Wes Welker, who did his best to erase any doubt in his health to start the season. He finished with 64 yards on eight catches.

Outside of quarterback Carson Palmer emphatically eclipsing the 300-yard passing mark, the lone bright spot for the Bengals was the receiving combination of Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens. The duo combined for 19 receptions and 212 yards on the day. Ochocinco caught one of Palmer’s two touchdown passes.

Top Performers:

QB – Tom Brady – 25-35 – 258 yards – 3 TD’s – Patriots

QB – Carson Palmer – 34-50 – 345 yards – 2 TD’s – 1 INT – Bengals

WR – Chad Ochocinco – 12 – 159 yards – 1 TD – Bengals

DB – Pat Chung – 12 solo tackles – 4 assists – Patriots

  • Pittsburgh Steelers 15 – Atlanta Falcons 9

Quick Recap:

Steelers Running Back Rashard Mendenhall

In a game that seemed certain for Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) defeat, the landscape changed in overtime, and the Steelers pulled out a 15-9 overtime winner over the Atlanta Falcons (0-1), when running back Rashard Mendenhall busted loose into the Falcons’ secondary, and took it the distance for a 50-yard game-winning score.

This came after a late chance by kicker Jeff Reed to win it, but instead missed a 40-yard field goal attempt near the end of regulation.

The Steelers had to overcome a rocky early start, as quarterback Dennis Dixon tried his best to fill the shoes of Ben Roethlisberger. Dixon finished with 236 yards through the air, and was picked once by Atlanta linebacker Mike Peterson.

The Falcons struggled mightily on offense, and were held to three Matt Bryant field goals. Third-year quarterback Matt Ryan threw for 252 yards, and was victimized once on an interception.

Top Performers:

RB – Rashard Mendenhall – 22 – 120 yards – 1 TD – Steelers

WR – Roddy White – 13 – 111 yards – Falcons

WR – Hines Ward – 6 – 108 yards – Steelers

LB – Curtis Lofton – 8 solo tackles – 3 assists – 1 sack – Falcons

  • Baltimore Ravens at New York Jets – Monday – 7:00 PM

Photos courtesy Getty Images

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