AFC North: Steelers’ Life Without Ben, More

This week's AFC North Roundup takes a look at the Pittsburgh Steelers' life without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the latest updates on injured rookie Baltimore Ravens receiver Breshad Perriman and the Cincinnati Bengals' boast an AFC Player of the Week

As everyone should already know, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suffered an MCL sprain and bone bruise in his left knee in the team’s Week 3, 12-6 win over the St. Louis Rams. The injury could sideline Roethlisberger for up to six weeks and puts the Steelers’ season in doubt. Though Pittsburgh currently has a 2-1 record and is No. 2 in the AFC North, losing a starting quarterback for any period time is generally a setback for every team in the NFL.

This means that backup quarterback Michael Vick will be taking the reins of Pittsburgh’s offense while Roethlisberger recovers. This will require the entire Steelers offense to adjust. Those adjustments will be relatively minor considering the short week of practice before the Steelers host the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night. But they will still be significant. Vick is a left-handed quarterback, which essentially means reversing Roethlisberger’s plays to suit him. He’s also mobile—and in different ways than Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger is more elusive than anything, while Vick has been known to scramble and has had designed running plays tailored to him in the past. 

Historically speaking, Thursday night could be a bad one for the Steelers. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ed Bouchette pointed out that in the previous six games the Steelers have played against the Ravens with Roethlisberger out, they’ve lost five. But against all other opponents sans-Ben, they are 8-2. Circumstances are quite different right now, given that the Ravens have opened 0-3 for the first time in franchise history and Thursday night’s game takes place in Pittsburgh, giving the Steelers a home-field advantage. But there’s no doubt the sailing is going to be rough for the Steelers while Roethlisberger is out. He’s one of the NFL’s most productive quarterbacks and is running one of the league’s most efficient and explosive offenses. It will be all but impossible for Vick to step in and immediately have the same kind of impact.

Baltimore Ravens: Setback for Perriman?

The Baltimore Ravens’ 2015 Round 1 draft pick, wide receiver Breshad Perriman, has yet to take the field for the team after suffering a knee injury on the first day of training camp. Last week, it seemed like he was getting one step closer to finally playing, having participated in warmups before Week 3’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals. But Perriman pulled up lame after running after a deep pass and has yet to hit the practice field again.

Reporters asked Ravens head coach John Harbaugh about Perriman’s status on Tuesday and Harbaugh was evasive about the receiver. Harbaugh was asked, “Did Perriman have a setback because he hasn't practiced the last two days?” according to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, to which Harbaugh replied, “I have no idea what you're talking about.”

This line of questioning continued, with the reporter asking Harbaugh, “So was there any setback?” with Harbaugh again replying, “I have no idea what you're talking about.” But no matter what is (or isn’t) going on with Perriman, he has been ruled out for Thursday night’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, with the knee again listed as the reason why.

Cincinnati Bengals: A.J. Green Named AFC Offensive Player of the Week

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his Week 3 performance in his team’s 28-24 win over the Baltimore Ravens. The four-time Pro Bowler caught 10 passes for 227 yards and two scores in the win and earned a career-high in receiving yards. Green’s previous personal best was 224 yards, earned in 2014.

Green has never been named a Player of the Week in his career, despite four straight seasons of impressive performances. He has the fourth-most receiving yards in the NFL presently, with 335 yards earned on 18 receptions. He has three touchdowns, and is averaging 18.6 yards per reception and 111.7 yards per game. 

This has been a good season so far for the Bengals’ offense. Green is, of course, the team’s primary deep threat, but Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Tyler Eifert and Giovani Bernard have all been impressive receiving targets for Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton. But none has made the single-game impact that Green did last week. 

Torturing the Ravens is apparently Green’s speciality—in seven games against Baltimore, he’s totaled 37 receptions on 69 targets, for 692 yards and five touchdowns. In contrast, though Green has had four receiving touchdowns against the Cleveland Browns in eight games, he’s caught only 35 of 72 passes thrown his way, for 474 yards.

The OBR Top Stories