MIKE BURKE

Allegany Communications Sports

It was a mixed bag over the weekend for our 2-Hour-Drive Conference (2HDC), #NFLTheTVShow version, as the Baltimore Ravens finally held on to a second-half 10-point lead to beat the Cleveland Browns, 23-20, the Washington Commanders beat the Green Bay Packers, 23-20, before the Pittsburgh Steelers fell to the Miami Dolphins, 16-10, on Sunday night.

The importance of the Ravens’ win over the Browns is two-fold: First, it makes them 2-0 in the AFC North and keeps them in first place ahead of the Cincinnati Bengals, who are also 4-3 overall, but who lost to the Ravens two weeks ago. Secondly, the defense and special teams stepped up big-time to hold off a handful of Cleveland rallies and threats, the special teams blocking the potential game-tying field goal in the final seconds.

It was a huge win for the Ravens and sets them up for a so-called less-challenging part of the schedule, which, in theory, could help them at least solidify a playoff spot. Keep in mind, of course, that theory rarely comes to fruition when it comes to most things Baltimore football.

We’ll see how that plays on Thursday night when the Ravens go into Tampa to play the Buccaneers, who were just emasculated on Sunday by the Carolina Panthers. The Bucs appear to be in complete disarray, beginning with their defense and the middle of the offensive line.

That would seem to target pressuring the quarterback up the middle, especially since the quarterback is Tom Brady, who is paralyzed by pressure, even on the best day of his prime. On top of that, Brady has been looking, playing, and targeting blame on his teammates the way a 45-year-old man is apt to do in a young-man’s world. Still, this is the Brady boy, and theory has generally seemed to reach fruition for him when you least expect it to.

As for the Steelers, despite the efforts of Miami Dolphins head coach/analytics cult member Mike McDaniel doing his very best to keep them in the game by not kicking a chip-shot field goal that would have given Miami a comfortable nine-point lead, Pittsburgh couldn’t stay out of its own way.

The Steelers defense looked like the Steelers defense, settling in well after a fast start by Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, but four dropped interceptions were too much to overcome, as was the work-in-progress offense under rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett. Although, Najee Harris provided a very hopeful performance at running back, which could be big in the immediate and long-term future for the 2-5 Steelers.

The immediate future appears daunting for the Steelers, as it’s a Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia against the undefeated Eagles. Normally, this is the kind of game that is right in the Steelers’ wheelhouse and you can bet Pittsburgh will be ready to play.

The Commanders celebrated the franchise’s 90th anniversary on “alumni homecoming weekend” with an exciting win over the Packers. They gathered about 130 former players, cheerleaders and others to parade around the stadium and be recognized on the field and when it came to the former players and the history of this franchise, particularly the Joe Gibbs era, all was well. Plus, with the win over the Packers one would think it must have been a perfect day.

No such thing in Snyderville, babe. Former Redskins great defensive lineman Darryl Grant initially wasn’t invited, then received an invitation telling him not to dare wear Redskins apparel; this is the Commanders now.

So, naturally, during a “Washington Legends” rally prior to the game, Tanya Snyder, wife of owner Dan, who is in day-to-day charge of the organization (wink-wink), led a cheer of “Hail to the Redskins!”

Meanwhile, Grant and his son were seated by themselves and were not given food or drink for over two hours. That came only when a Snyder minion mistook Grant for Bob Uecker and told him he was in the wrong seats and would have to move.

Mark Moseley, the great placekicker, who set an NFL record for consecutive field goals and was MVP of the league in helping the Redskins to their first Super Bowl win, attended the game and was handed his name tag on which his name was misspelled, Nothing like a heartfelt show of appreciation and gratitude to your history and extended family members, right?

On top of that, fans chanted “Sell the team!” all afternoon and Snyder’s henchmen patrolled the stands and confiscated fans’ signs that read, “Sell the team!”

Only signs that will support the team are allowed, the fans were told. Yet wouldn’t Snyder’s selling the team support it in the best possible way?

All in all, just another day in Dan Snyder’s autocratic Margaritaville, where even a good day will always leave you irritated and annoyed.

Wasting away, baby. Hail!

Mike Burke writes about sports and other stuff for Allegany Communications. He began covering sports for the Prince George’s Sentinel in 1981 and joined the Cumberland Times-News sports staff in 1984, serving as sports editor for over 30 years. Contact him at [email protected] and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @MikeBurkeMDT