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AFC North Tightly Packed as Baltimore Ravens Fall on Monday Night

October 25th, 2011 at 8:35 AM
By Chuck Chapman

On paper, the Baltimore Ravens game against the Jacksonville Jaguars last night should have been a blowout. Somebody forgot to notify the Jaguars as their defense looked awfully Ravenish, holding Baltimore under 200 yards in total offense en route to a 12-7 victory. The Ravens loss moves them to 4-2, even with the Cincinnati Bengals. The Pittsburgh Steelers have a half game lead by virtue of beating Arizona and the Cleveland Browns are a game back of the pack after outlasting Seattle.

The Ravens defense has always been their calling card. Ray Lewis and his gang showed up in Jacksonville last night, holding the Jags to  only 205 yards and keeping them out of the end zone. Joe Flacco and Ray Rice didn't fare as well. Flacco looked lost most of the night, completing 21 of 38 passes for just 137 yards. Rice and the Ravens managed only 34 yards on the ground while Jacksonville gained 132. That kept the Ravens offense off the field and rested a fired up Jags defense. Baltimore has now dropped two road games to AFC South opponents. They'll come home to take on 1-5 Arizona this weekend.

The Cardinals dropped to 1-5 by virtue of a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers who seem to be coming around after struggling early in the season. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 361 yards and three touchdowns as the Steelers dominated from start to finish. Big Ben and his favorite target, Mike Wallace hooked up three times for 118 yards. Rashard Mendenhall, just a week after a huge game against Seattle, was held to 32 yards on 13 carries. Pittsburgh now begins an important three game stretch before their bye week. They'll be at home this week to face New England and the following week when they renew hostilities with Baltimore before traveling to Cincinnati for their first meeting with the Bengals this year.

Cleveland won a 6-3 decision over Seattle. That's about all that can be said about what may have been one of the worst football games ever played. Cleveland had the football for over 42 minutes against the Seahawks Sunday, but could only manage six points. Colt McCoy threw for 178 yards and a pick while Monterio Hardesty ran for 95 yards on 33 carries in Peyton Hillis' absence. Seattle, behind backup Charlie Whitehurst and without starting running back Marshawn Lynch, could only muster 137 yards on offense. The Browns hit the road Sunday to meet the 5-1 San Francisco 49ers.

A game and a half separates the four teams in the AFC North. The Ravens, Steelers, Bengals, and Browns comprise the top four in total defense in the NFL. As October draws to a close, these four teams have several meeting scheduled in the second half of the season. Each team has only played one divisional contest thus far. Get ready for some intense football as these rivals square off with everything on the line.

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

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