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AFC North Roundup: Week 11

NFL: NOV 17 Texans at Ravens Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After a relatively subdued battle on Thursday night, all hell broke loose between the Browns and Steelers on the final play of the game. Myles Garrett and Mason Rudolph got into a scuffle, which ended with Garrett hitting Rudolph in the head with his own helmet.

The dust settled quickly: Garrett was suspended indefinitely for the remainder of the season, Maurkice Pouncey was suspended for three games, Larry Ogunjobi was suspended for one game and Rudolph was fined. It’s possible that these suspensions could be reduced or altered this week.

Losing Garrett is brutal, but the Browns did manage to pull out their second straight victory and narrow their deficit in the division. The Steelers, on the other hand, squandered an opportunity to strengthen their playoff chances. Elsewhere, the Ravens continued to roll with a blowout victory over the Texans, while the Bengals lost in Oakland by a score of 17-10.

Browns defeat Steelers: 21-17

From a football perspective, this was a strong performance from Cleveland, particularly their defense, in a must-win situation. They scored on only three drives but left six points on the field following two missed field goals from Austin Seibert. Luckily, their defense came to play in a big way. Two interceptions from Joe Schobert and one each from Morgan Burnett and Jason Burris helped thwart any chance of a Steelers comeback. Cleveland limited the Steelers to just 3.7 yards per play and 2/11 on third down conversions.

Nick Chubb was once again given a healthy workload (27 carries) and rushed for 92 yards on the night. Kareem Hunt seems to have carved out a role as a pass-catcher out of the backfield, as he once again utilized through the air with six catches for 46 yards. He led the team in receptions, with Odell Beckham Jr. (4 catches, 60 yards) and Jarvis Landry (4 catches, 43 yards, 1 TD) also chipping in. Baker Mayfield completed only 17 of his 32 pass attempts but threw two touchdown passes and 193 passing yards.

Defining stat: 4 forced turnovers

What’s next: vs. Miami Dolphins - Sunday, Nov. 24 (1:00 p.m. ET)

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For the Steelers, the events at the end of the game overshadowed an otherwise underwhelming performance. On the heels of back-to-back wins against the Colts and Rams, Pittsburgh’s offense fell flat in Cleveland. Instead of extending their win streak to five games, improving to 6-4, maintaining their wild card spot and widening the gap between them and the Browns in the division, the Steelers are now .500 and trail the Raiders in the wild card race. So, what went wrong on Thursday night?

They couldn’t sustain any offensive momentum and injuries certainly did not help. Before the end of the first half, the Steelers lost their top two playmakers to injuries - James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster, as well as Diontae Johnson. With a lack of weapons at his disposal, Mason Rudolph completed just 23/44 passes, threw four interceptions and totaled a QBR of 10.8 . . . yikes. Without Conner on the field, they struggled on the ground, too, totaling just 56 rushing yards with a 3.6 YPC.

Defining stat: 3.7 yards per play

What’s next: @ Cincinnati Bengals - Sunday, Nov. 24 (1:00 p.m. ET)

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Ravens defeat Texans: 41-7

Another week, another opponent destined for the playoffs . . . another convincing victory for the Ravens, this time at the expense of the Texans. Coming off a bye week, Houston had two weeks to prepare for Baltimore’s dynamic offense and still had no answers. The Ravens uncharacteristically got off to a slow start, coming up empty on their first two possessions. Lamar Jackson completed just one of his first six pass attempts but quickly found a rhythm and got into a groove. Jackson completed 13 straight passes at one point and finished with just seven incompletions on 24 attempts, four passing touchdowns and 86 rushing yards.

Jackson outdueled fellow MVP candidate Deshaun Watson, who was largely shut down by an improving and aggressive Ravens defense. Led by Matthew Judon and Tyus Bowser, the Ravens recorded a season-high seven sacks, while also hitting Watson 10 times and posting nine tackles for loss. Judon was the driving force with seven tackles, two sacks, four QB hits and four TFL. Baltimore churned out 263 rushing yards against one of the league’s top rushing defense and outgained the Texans overall 491-232.

Defining stat: 7.7 yards per play

What’s next: @ Los Angeles Rams - Monday, Nov. 25 (8:15 p.m. ET)

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Raiders defeat Bengals: 17-10

Seeking their first win of the season against the surging Raiders, the Bengals hung tough and put up a valiant fight against a winning ball club. Still, it ultimately wasn’t enough and they dropped to 0-10 on the season. The Bengals struck first courtesy of Joe Mixon, who reversed field in the red zone for a 3-yard score. It was Mixon’s first rushing touchdown of the season and another productive outing overall (103 scrimmage yards). Oakland stormed back, though, and the Bengals quickly found themselves losing and failed to recover.

QB Ryan Finley threw a game-sealing interception on the team’s final drive, thwarting any chance of a last minute comeback. Finley had a very forgettable performance overall, completing just 13/31 passes for 115 yards and a QBR of 24.5. WR Auden Tate was carted off the field with a neck injury but it is expected to have avoided serious injury.

Defining stat: 3/13 on third down

What’s next: vs. Browns - Sunday, Nov. 24 (1:00 p.m. ET)

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