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AFC North Rivals Leave Cincinnati Bengals Behind in Week Three

September 27th, 2011 at 6:30 AM
By Chuck Chapman

The Cincinnati Bengals loss to San Francisco on Sunday was doubly tough as all three AFC North rivals won their games, leaving the Bengals as the lone team with a losing record in the division after three games.

The Baltimore Ravens resumed their domination a week after losing at Tennessee. Baltimore took a 21-0 first quarter lead in St. Louis and never looked back en route to a 37-7 win over the Rams. Joe Flacco woke up the ghosts of Tony Banks, throwing 48 times and completing 27 for 389 yards and three touchdowns, all in the first quarter to rookie wide receiver Torrey Smith. The Ravens totaled 553 yards of total offense on the day. Ray Rice and Ricky Williams teamed up for 121 rushing yards. The Ravens averaged 6.5 yards per carry as a team. The defense dominated as well, sacking Sam Bradford five times. The Ravens host the New York Jets on Sunday night.

The Cleveland Browns struggled against the Miami Dolphins most of the day Sunday, but when it counted, Colt McCoy showed his penchant for game winning drives. The second year QB led the Browns on an 80 yard drive, hitting Mohamed Massequoi from 14 yards out  with only 43 seconds left to play. McCoy wasn't sharp, hitting fewer than 50% of his passes and only throwing for 210 yards. Monterio Hardesty filled in for Peyton Hillis who was out with an illness, rushing 14 times for 67 yards. Miami controlled the clock and churned out 138 yards on the ground, but the Browns defense sacked Chad Henne five times and intercepted him once on the way to the 17-16 win. Cleveland hosts Tennessee this weekend in a battle of 2-1 teams.

Pittsburgh was supposed to dominate the Peyton Manningless Indianapolis Colts, but somebody forgot to tell the Colts. The Steelers needed a late fumble recovery touchdown from Troy Polumalu and a late field goal to put away the feisty Colts 23-20. Ben Roethlisberger torched the Indy secondary, throwing for 364 yards, 144 of that to Mike Wallace. The Steeler offensive line continued to struggle, however, as they managed just 2.4 yards per carry against a suspect Indianapolis run defense and gave up three sacks. Adding to their troubles, both Jonathan Scott and Marcus Gilbert were dinged up leaving the Steelers without five healthy linemen. The Colts also managed 4.6 yards per rush against the Steelers front seven, but inexplicably only rushed 20 times. The Steelers travel to Houston to take on the explosive Texans on Sunday.

After three weeks of games, the Bengals are a game behind each of their AFC North Rivals. They definitely need to stack up some victories in October before the teeth of divisional play sets in.

Tags: Baltimore Ravens, Ben Roethlisberger, Cincinnati, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Colt McCoy, Football, Joe Flacco, Mohamed Massequoi, Monterio Hardesty, NFL, Ray Rice, Torrey Smith, Troy Polumalu

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