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Baltimore Ravens Alone Atop AFC North

October 4th, 2011 at 8:25 AM
By Chuck Chapman

 

The Baltimore Ravens used a stifling defense, scoring three times with that unit to take down Rex Ryan and the Jets 34-17 and take sole possession of the AFC North. Both defenses dominated play, but it was the Ravens who were able to capitalize and put the ball in the end zone. Baltimore held the Jets to only 150 yards of total offense. The Jets two touchdowns were also non-offensive, a Joe McKnight kickoff return and a David Harris interception return. The Ravens offense didn't fare much better against their old defensive coordinator. Joe Flacco was 10/31 for 163 yards and a pick while the Baltimore running game picked up 112 yards on the ground thanks to volume of carries. They could only muster 2.8 yards per carry. Baltimore gets the week off before another big inter-divisional showdown with the Houston Texans in week six.

The Pittsburgh Steelers line woes continued as they dropped a 17-10 decision in Houston to the Texans. Ben Roethlisberger was sacked five times and sprained his foot in the fourth quarter, leaving his status for this week in question. Rashard Mendenhall scored the Steelers' lone touchdown, but was limited to 25 yards on nine carries. Isaac Redman and Mewelde Moore combined for 74 yards on 10 carries, leading some in Pittsburgh to wonder about Mendenhall's role. The defense continued to yield large chunks on the ground. Arian Foster rushed 30 times for 155 yards. Matt Schaub was a pedestrian 14/21 for 138 yards and a touchdown, but was without his main target, Andre Johnson who went out early with a hamstring injury. Pittsburgh is 2-2 and struggling in the trenches. It won't get any easier as Chris Johnson and the Tennessee Titans come to town this Sunday.

The Cleveland Browns got behind to the Titans last Sunday 21-6 and never threatened. Chris Johnson finally got untracked for Tennessee, running for 101 yards on 23 carries. Still, the Browns controlled time of possession and total yardage, but couldn't prevent the big play. Tennessee scored on an 80 yard scoring strike from Matt Hasselbeck to Jared Cook. The game swung decisively for the Titans when Colt McCoy was picked off in the red zone and Tennessee's Jordan Babineaux returned it 97 yards for a score. The bye week couldn't be better timed for the 2-2 Browns who saw Joe Haden and Josh Cribbs suffer sprained knees. Center Alex Mack played Sunday, but was quite ill. On Monday he had an appendectomy and will need the down time for his recovery.

At the quarter pole, the Ravens are in the lead at 3-1, but the Bengals, Browns, and Steelers all are just a game behind. The schedule maker has these teams remaining outside the division for the next quarter of the schedule with the home stretch promising some bruising battles for ultimate supremacy.

Tags: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Football, NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers

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