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AFC North Recap: Week 7

Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Week 7 of the NFL season has concluded, and with it came a new leader in the AFC North. The Cleveland Browns overcame adversity on Thursday Night Football to start Week 7, while the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals battled for control of the division. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Steelers enjoyed their bye week.

Cincinnati Bengals (5-2)

The Bengals overtook the lead of the AFC North after a 41-17 victory over the Ravens.

Quarterback Joe Burrow was ready for Baltimore’s blitz-heavy defense this time around as he shredded the Ravens through the air with 416 yards and three touchdowns. Rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase was the star of the show as he got the better of All-Pro cornerback Marlon Humphrey on several occasions. Chase finished the day with 201 yards and a touchdown on eight receptions.

The Bengals defense played its part as well by holding quarterback Lamar Jackson to just one touchdown on the day while effectively shutting down Baltimore’s rushing attack and making life difficult through the air. Cincinnati was able to pressure Jackson for much of the contest, finishing with five sacks.

Baltimore Ravens (5-2)

The Ravens failed their first divisional test against the Bengals, and in the process lost the lead of the AFC North.

Baltimore’s offense was unable to find a rhythm against Cincinnati. Although Jackson rushed for 88 yards, the Ravens’ three running backs combined for a measly 29 yards on the ground. Baltimore’s already struggling offensive line was dealt yet another blow, as right tackle Patrick Mekari suffered a high-ankle sprain that will sideline him for the foreseeable future.

Defensively, the Ravens had no answers for the Bengals. Burrow was clinical in the pocket, avoiding the pass rush and delivering the ball to his targets throughout the day. Chase was not the only player to get behind the defense, as tight end C.J. Uzomah scored two long touchdowns. Despite their many blitzes, Baltimore was only able to sack Burrow once.

Cleveland Browns (4-3)

The Browns entered Week 7 missing a multitude of key players, including quarterback Baker Mayfield, running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, and right tackle Jack Conklin. Despite this, Cleveland persevered with a 17-14 victory over the Denver Broncos.

In the absence of their top two running backs, the Browns turned to D’Ernest Johnson to lead the backfield. Johnson did not disappoint, to say the least, as the former AAF running back rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries while also adding another 22 yards through the air on two catches. Wide receiver Jarvis Landry made his return from a sprained MCL suffered in Week 2 and caught five passes for 37 yards from veteran quarterback Case Keenum.

Cleveland’s defense bounced back with a strong performance against quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and the Broncos’ offense. Denver rushed for only 41 yards on the night. Safety John Johnson III snagged his first interception of the season and his first as a Brown.