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Baltimore Ravens Loss Muddles the AFC North Race

November 15th, 2011 at 7:13 AM
By Chuck Chapman

After defeating the Cincinnati Bengals, the Pittsburgh Steelers had to be relieved to still be a half game back of the Baltimore Ravens, who surely would take care of business out in Seattle against the hapless Seahawks who had already lost to the rest of the AFC North. They didn't and the Steelers now find themselves in first place in the division only a week after losing a heartbreaker to the Ravens.

 Baltimore turned the ball over three times Sunday and allowed the Seahawks to sprint out to a 19-7 halftime advantage. The Ravens comeback ultimately fell short as Marshawn Lynch picked up key first downs and Seattle ran out the clock to win 22-17. Joe Flacco threw 52 passes against the Seahawks, but only managed 255 yards and one touchdown. Ray Rice and Ricky Williams combined to only rush eight times for 35 yards in an odd bit of play calling. Seahawks QB Tarvaris Jackson was steady against the Ravens defense, throwing for 217 yards and no interceptions. Jackson did enough with his arm and his legs to keep the aggressive Baltimore defense at bay, but it was Marshawn Lynch's running that won the day. Lynch carried 32 times for 109 yards and a touchdown. With the loss, Baltimore slips into a second place tie with Cincinnati at 6-3. The two teams meet this Sunday in Baltimore.

Meanwhile, the Cleveland Browns, whom everyone thought would be much improved this season, continued to struggle, losing a heartbreaking 13-12 decision to the St. Louis Rams in Cleveland. The Browns won every place on the stat sheet, but came up short on the scoreboard. Absent running backs Peyton Hillis and Monterio Hardesty, Chris Ogbonnaya stepped in and rushed for 90 yards on 19 carries. Colt McCoy was his usual efficient self, completing almost 75 per cent of his passes for 218 yards. The Browns handily won time of possession, the turnover battle, and total yards, yet couldn't dent the end zone. The game came down to the Browns' ultra-reliable field goal kicker only needing to knock in a chip shot 22 yarder to win the game. Inexplicably, the long snapper botched the snap. Brad Maynard, the holder, somehow got the ball down, but with Phil Dawson's timing thrown off, he missed, sending the Browns to 3-6. 

Cleveland will try to get back in the win column at home against Jacksonville this weekend while the Steelers have their bye week. That means the Bengals and Ravens will play to unpack the logjam at the top of the AFC North.

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

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