Week 4 of the 2008 NFL regular season was an all divisional match-up. The JV warm-up game was the Cleveland Browns facing off against the Cincinnati Bengals, while the varsity main event was a Monday Night match-up between the Ravens and the Steelers.
In true JV fashion, somebody had to win between two sorry teams, and while the Ravens-Steelers game was a much closer affair, defense ultimately was the flavor that elevated the Steelers to elite status in the conference, and reduced the Ravens regular season mortality.
Baltimore Ravens (2-1):
Looking Back: It was a game that the Ravens needed to reintroduce themselves to a national audience. The third leg of their season-opening streak of AFC North opponents was a road game in Steel City against a hated rival and AFC contender. The Ravens had beaten the brakes off the lowly Browns and Bengals in the weeks prior, but no one trusted those victories as a measure of defensive prowess, or the maturity of Joe Flacco.
Looking Forward: Their first loss was the toughest, and overtime road defeat that came on the heels of shifty Ben Roethelisberger’s timely throws. Sunday its the undefeated Titans, who have just as potent a running game and as formidable a defense as the Steelers.
Cincinnati Bengals (0-4):
Looking Back: The game against the New York Giants had everyone thinking that the Bengals were prepared to turn the corner. Turning the corner is never a problem, but when you run into a cream pie to the face, its surely not enjoyable. They couldn’t run, couldn’t pass, couldn’t stop the run, and couldn’t stop the pass. Not an equation for happiness.
Looking Forward: Carson Palmer is hurt, but is looking to play this Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. Why, no one can say for sure, but if pain is what gets him off, who are we to judge?
Cleveland Browns (1-3):
Looking Back: Brady Quinn perhaps? Yep, that’s what we wrote last week, and the same is true this week. Despite the win, sparked by Derek Anderson’s late game proficiency, Romeo Crennel acknowledged he wasn’t happy with the performance.
Looking Forward: Get ready for the QB controversy in Cleveland. The Browns will struggle offensively against the New York Giants, and there will be a change at quarterback. How long that change is in effect, will be the million dollar question.
Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1):
Looking Back: The Pittsburgh Steelers looked bad against the Philadelphia Eagles in a game full of field goals and misery. How fitting for redemption to come on an overtime field goal for the Steelers, who overcame a bruising and taxing regulation to serve the Ravens yet another heartbreaking Monday Night loss.
Looking Forward: The Steelers head into Jacksonville with more questions than they bargained for. Two of their top running backs are out, and Ben Roethelisberger still doesn’t look like an elite quarterback. With that being said, would you still venture to count them out?
Yeah. Me neither.