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Evaluating the AFC North quarterbacks from a Black & Gold perspective

On a recent episode of the Steelers Preview podcast, we were tasked with determining where the Steelers ranked in the AFC North and each position group. Obviously, the most important position in professional sports was heavily discussed. But with the Steelers being the team with a new quarterback for 2024, it was somewhat difficult to figure out exactly where they stood.

Something else that was very interesting was to see the reaction to the rankings, particularly from those who are not Steelers fans. As our general consensus had Joe Burrow as the best quarterback in the division ahead of Lamar Jackson, we also believe that Russell Wilson could even number two. The biggest consensus was that Deshaun Watson was at the last spot in the division.

Whether or not you agree with this assessment is completely up to you. But for those who have a similar take as a Steelers fans, and maybe criticized by fans of other organizations for having this opinion, there is something to keep in mind…

What typically shapes a Steelers fan’s thoughts on the other quarterbacks in the division is how they have performed against the Steelers.

For a brief history lesson, let’s look at the other three expected quarterbacks in the AFC North and their record against the Steelers:

Joe Burrow (3-2)

Although it’s not by much, Joe Burrow is the only current AFC North quarterback who has a winning record against the Steelers. The two losses came in his first start against the Steelers his rookie year of 2020 and in Week 1 of the 2022 season where the Steelers were victorious in Cincinnati in overtime. Otherwise, Burrow has won three of five contests.

I find it interesting someone chiming in about how Joe Burrow shouldn’t be on top of this list, they actually asked the question, “what has Joe Burrow ever won?” The answer to this is simple because he is the only quarterback in the AFC North to do so…

An AFC championship game.

Lamar Jackson (1-3)

Despite Lamar Jackson being a starter for five seasons and the Ravens playing the Steelers twice each year, he has only actually started four games against Pittsburgh. Of those starts, the only win Lamar Jackson has was in 2019 when Mason Rudolph left the game injured and Devlin Hodges had to come in and relief. In this game, the Steelers lost in overtime. Lamar Jackson did not scare the Steelers defense at all so much so that, even though the rules at the time were sudden death, the Steelers opted to kickoff in order to get better field position on offense. The questionable decision actually worked and the Steelers were closing in on an overtime victory until a JuJu Smith-Schuster fumble cost them the game. This was Lamar Jackson’s only win against the Steelers.

So despite winning the NFL MVP award twice in Baltimore, Lamar Jackson does not have a win against the Steelers since the 2020 season where the Steelers are 7-1 against the Ravens.

Deshaun Watson (0-3)

Including his time in Houston, Deshaun Watson has never beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. There’s really not much else to say about the Browns quarterback other than that every time he’s face the Steelers it has been in Pittsburgh and has not had a home game.

For those fans of other teams that are wondering why there are those in Steelers’ Nation who believe Russell Wilson can get the job done in Pittsburgh, let’s look at what they have seen from their new quarterback in his time in the NFL…

Russell Wilson (2-0)

That’s right, Steelers fans have never seen the black and gold defeat a Russell Wilson lead football team. There is one thing that should be noted Is the last time Wilson faced the Steelers, none of the current AFC quarterbacks had yet to do so. The last time Wilson defeated the Steelers was in Week 2 of the 2019 season in the game that Ben Roethlisberger was injured and missed the final 14.5 games of the season.

So there are some reasons why Steelers fans likely feel the way they do about the other quarterbacks in the division. As of now, Joe Burrow was the only one to have more wins than losses as a starter against the Steelers and the NFL MVP is not a player who strikes in the heart of the Steelers defense. From strictly a black-and-gold perspective, this is where the other quarterbacks fall in the AFC North.


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