AFC North Report: Bengals Regain Full Control

Tony Dye & J.K. Schaffer celebrate a punt return for a touchdown against the Browns. - John Grieshop

A look at the three games that featured the Bengals, Ravens, Steelers, and Browns.

The AFC North divisional race was becoming closer and closer, especially with the Ravens win over the Bengals last week. Let's look at the games from Week 11.


Cleveland Browns (4-6) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (7-4)

The Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals would be a game full of defensive and special teams touchdowns.

The Browns came out in the first quarter demolishing Andy Dalton on the defensive side of the ball. Cornerback Joe Haden had two interceptions in the first, one that he returned for a touchdown, pulling the Browns ahead of the Bengals 13-0.

Just when it looked like the Browns were going to have a terrific game against Cincy, the Bengals went off in the second quarter.

In the second quarter, Andy Dalton threw for two touchdowns, they made a field goal, they blocked a punt and ran it back for a touchdown, and they had a fumble recovery for a touchdown. The Bengals scored 31 unanswered points in the second quarter, which would pave the way to victory for the AFC North leaders... or so everyone thought.

In the third quarter, with the score 31-13, Browns' quarterback Jason Campbell launched a 74-yard touchdown pass to Josh Gordon to make the score 31-20. Unfortunately for the Browns, that would be their last time putting points on the board.

The Cincinnati Bengals came out in the fourth and shut the Browns out, giving them the win over their Ohio rivals, 41-20.

  • Cincinnati broke a franchise record for most points scored in a quarter. (31)
  • Cleveland allowed it's first blocked punt return touchdown for the first time since 1990.
  • Sunday's game was the most lopsided win between the Browns-Bengals since 2006, where Cincy won 30-0.

Baltimore Ravens (4-6) vs. Chicago Bears (6-4)

The game between the Ravens and the Bears was scheduled to kickoff around 1:00 p.m. EST. It would not end until after 6 p.m. EST.

The Ravens came out hot, scoring on both of their first two drives. Ray Rice began the first by running 47 yards to get the Ravens in excellent scoring position. A few plays later, Rice ran it in for the 1-yard touchdown, his fourth of the season.

Next, Justin Tucker hit a 52-yard field goal in the strong Chicago wind to put the Ravens up, 10-0. It would not be pretty from there.

With 4:51 left to play in the first quarter, the fans were told to leave their seats and go under the covered part of the stadium. The players went to the locker room soon after that. This would be the start of a nearly two-hour weather delay. The Ravens are used to delays, since they had one in Super Bowl XLVII (power) and the Week 1 season opener in Denver (weather.) Neither of these delays were almost two hours.

Play resumed around 3:25 p.m. EST, and from then on, it was Chicago's game.

In the second quarter, the Bears outscored the Ravens, 13-7, but it was still a 17-13 Ravens' lead at halftime.

In the third, both teams didn't score a single point, and the fourth was practically the same way. In the beginning of the quarter, McCown passed to Forte for a touchdown, giving the Bears a 20-17 lead over the Ravens.

Later in the quarter, Dallas Clark made a huge one-handed catch on fourth down to keep the Ravens' drive going at the Chicago 30-yard line. Soon after that, Justin Tucker hit a 21-yard field goal to send the game into overtime.

This would be the second consecutive week that the Ravens were involved in an overtime game, but this would not carry the same outcome as the last game.

The Ravens would mess up on offense, forcing them to punt. The Bears then drove down and kicked the game-winning field goal, making the score 23-20 Bears.

Detroit Lions (6-4) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-6)

The Detroit Lions came into this game trying to get the first win in Pittsburgh since 1955. Unfortunately for them, Antonio Brown would put the Steelers up early in this one.

Two receiving touchdowns for Antonio Brown would put the Steelers up 14-0 at the end of the first. Then, Megatron came along.

Calvin Johnson showed how great he was with two touchdowns of his own, including a 79-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford. The Lions would have a Bengals-type second quarter, as they led at halftime, 27-20.

The second half would be absolutely awful for the Detroit Lions. They would be held without a single point, as the Steelers walked over them in the fourth quarter, scoring two touchdowns.

Calvin Johnson had six receptions for 179 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, but he was held without a catch in the entire second half.

Ben Roethlisberger would throw two touchdowns in the second half, sealing the Lions' fate as the Steelers would go on to win, 37-27.

The Lions still have not beaten the Steelers in Pittsburgh since 1955, over 50 years ago, before the Super Bowl era.

AFC North Overview:

What's Next?:

Cincinnati Bengals: Bye in Week 12.

Cleveland Browns: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (Week 12- 11/24)

Baltimore Ravens: vs. New York Jets (Week 12- 11/24)

Pittsburgh Steelers: @ Cleveland Browns (Week 12- 11/24)


Notable Injuries:

Cincinnati Bengals: No notable injuries in Week 11 game vs. Browns.

Cleveland Browns: No notable injuries in Week 11 game vs. Bengals.

Baltimore Ravens: No notable injuries in Week 11 game vs. Bears.

Pittsburgh Steelers: WR Emmanuel Sanders left with a foot injury and did not return.

Standings:

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via ESPN

The AFC North changed a bit after Week 11. The defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, who have won the division the last two years, fall down to third place. The Steelers moved up two spots, and the Browns have taken their spot at third. The Bengals still lead the division.

Cincinnati Bengals: Leads Division.

Pittsburgh Steelers: 2.5 games back.

Cleveland Browns: 2.5 games back.

Baltimore Ravens: 2.5 games back.

*AFC Playoff Picture will be added after tonight's Patriots-Panthers game.*


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