clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

AFC North Recap, Week 11: Ravens, Browns create separation

Key injuries across the division have created uncertainty

NFL: NOV 16 Bengals at Ravens Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Week 11 in the AFC North was a big one, as all four teams played each other and the results were impactful. The Ravens widened the gap between the top and bottom of the division, opening up three-game lead over the Bengals. In the middle of the standings, the Browns jumped the Steelers for the first time in several weeks.

A slew of injuries notable injuries across the division clouded things. Joe Burrow joined Deshaun Watson in suffering a season-ending injury, meaning the Browns and Bengals are now both down their starting quarterbacks. The Ravens lost All-Pro tight end Mark Andrews to an ankle injury and he’s now out indefinitely, likely to miss the remainder of the year.

Updated standings:

  1. Baltimore Ravens 8-3
  2. Cleveland Browns 7-3
  3. Pittsburgh Steelers 6-4
  4. Cincinnati Bengals 5-5

Baltimore Ravens

Result: Win over Cincinnati Bengals, 34-20

Following a disappointing loss against the Browns last week, the Ravens bounced back with a 14-point victory over the Bengals in primetime. In doing so, the Ravens earned their first series sweep against Cincinnati since 2020. They’re now above .500 in the division for the year with a 3-2 record against AFC opponents.

The Ravens struck first with an opening drive touchdown before stalling a bit offensively in the first quarter into the second. Then, after trailing 10-7, they scored touchdowns on back-to-back seven-play drives in under five minutes to take 21-10 lead into halftime. That came following Joe Burrow’s injury and exit, after which the Ravens outscored the Bengals 27-10.

Lamar Jackson, despite fighting through an ankle injury suffered mid-game, tossed two touchdowns with over 300 all-purpose yards. Several of Jackson’s 16 completions were for big gains, as he completed separate passes of 51, 33, and 37 yards to three different pass-catchers. The Ravens also rushed for 157 total yards and averaged 5.1 yards per carry.

Baltimore’s offense averaged 8.6 yards per pass and 6.8 yards per play, with 22 first downs gained and just over 400 yards of total offense. They’ll now face the challenge of continuing to produce without the services of Andrews, who’s Jackson’s go-to target in the passing game.

Cincinnati Bengals

Result: Loss to Baltimore Ravens, 20-34

On the heels of an upset loss to the Houston Texans in Week 10, the Bengals were not able to get back in the win column. As a result, they’re now .500 and further outside of the playoff picture. Their postseason hopes appear to be dwindling even further considering Burrow’s injury status.

The Bengals took a 10-7 lead over the Ravens halfway through the second quarter. On his go-ahead touchdown pass to Joe Mixon, Burrow’s wrist was injured and he did not return to action. Backup quarterback Jake Browning took the reins and led two scoring drives in the second half, but the Bengals were outscored by multiple touchdowns without Burrow.

Cincinnati’s defense continued to struggle in preventing big plays, as the Ravens’ offense was able to rip off several large gains — particularly through the air. The Bengals were successful on just 2-of-11 third down attempts, while the Ravens converted 50% of their 12 tries.

The Bengals found some success running the ball as they averaged 5.9 yards per carry and totaled 136 yards. It meant little, though, as they were playing catchup from halftime onwards. Despite running just one less play the Ravens, they recorded more than 100 less yards.

Cleveland Browns

Result: Win over Pittsburgh Steelers, 13-10

The Browns won a predictably low-scoring, mucky game against the Steelers with rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson starting his second game of the season. In doing so, the Browns defeated the Ravens and Steelers in back-to-back games for the first time in franchise history — and also improved to a solid 7-3 record.

Cleveland’s seven-play, 50-yard touchdown drive in the middle of the first quarter proved to be paramount. It wound up being their only touchdown of the day. A field goal before halftime gave them a 10-0 lead going in the final two quarters. The Steelers ultimately erased their deficit and tied the score at 10-10 a piece halfway through the fourth quarter.

The Browns punted the ball six times in the second half and threw an interception. Their final drive of the game, though, saw them move 48 yards in just over a minute to advance into field goal range. Dustin Hopkins kicked his second consecutive game-winner from 34 yards out with two seconds left.

Averaging 3.5 yards per play, going 4-of-17 on third down, and losing the turnover battle usually does not result in winning football. However, the Browns’ defense unsurprisingly put the clamps down. They allowed just 12 first downs and 249 yards.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Result: Loss to Cleveland Browns, 10-13

The Steelers’ two-game win streak was snapped in Cleveland and they failed to sweep the season series over the Browns. After scoring 20+ points in back-to-back weeks heading into Sunday, Pittsburgh’s offensive woes returned in big fashion. They scored 10 points or less for the fourth time this season.

In the first half, the Steelers punted the ball four straight times, digging themselves a 10-point deficit. Jaylen Warren’s 74-yard rushing touchdown to begin the third quarter was the team’s only real offensive highlight of the game. Warren had 100+ yards and a score for the second straight game, and is now up to 6.2 yards per carry on the season.

Unfortunately, his efforts weren’t enough. Aside from a game-tying field goal in the fourth quarter, the Steelers punted five more times in the second half. They went 3-for-14 on third down conversion attempts and gained 12 first downs in 13 total drives.

Quarterback Kenny Pickett’s struggles continued, as he completed 15 passes for only 106 total yards. On Tuesday morning, the Steelers announced they were firing offensive coordinator Matt Canada.