AFC North Week Six Recap

By Annie Kelly

As of Sunday, the Cincinnati Bengals continue to lead the AFC North with a 6-0 record. Right behind them are the Pittsburgh Steelers, with a 4-2 record, and below them are the Cleveland Browns (2-4), and placing last are the Baltimore Ravens (1-5).

On Sunday, the Bengals faced off against the Buffalo Bills, and won 34-21. The Bengals have had a 6-0 record twice in franchise history, in 1975 and 1988. On Sunday, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton had no interceptions, no sacks, and only one fumble, which was recovered by his team. According to NFL.com, Dalton finished with 243 yards on Sunday. The Bills scored on their opening drive of the game while the Bengals were forced to punt, but they easily made up for that. Cincinnati scored 17 points on their first three possessions of the second half. During the opening drive of the second half, Dalton threw a 42-yard pass to receiver Marvis Jones. This over-the-shoulder catch then set him up for a 10-yard touchdown. On the Buffalo side, starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor was out with a sprained left knee, so second-string QB EJ Manuel was in. This was the first game all season in which the Bills avoided any sacks.

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Also on Sunday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Steelers met the Arizona Cardinals and escaped with a 25-13 win. Mike Tomlin, the Steelers head coach, and Bruce Arians, the Cardinals head coach, had some tension between them. Arians used to be the offensive coordinator for the Steelers until he was not asked back, and for him this game was a way of proving himself. It was a rather stressful game for Steelers fans to watch. Part of that stress was due to the fact that second-string quarterback Michael Vick got injured in the third quarter leaving the game with a left hamstring injury, and in came their third-string quarterback, Landry Jones. Jones got his first NFL regular season action, in which he threw two touchdown passes. He was so successful in the game that Tomlin is thinking about starting him this week instead of Vick. Also on fire on Sunday was wide receiver Antonio Brown. Brown caught 10 passes for 196 yards, which was a career best. The Cardinals had a total of three turnovers while the Steelers did not have any. In the fourth quarter, Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer threw an interception and blew the game. Jones then threw an 80-yard pass to Martavis Bryant who ran it in for a touchdown, solidifying a Steelers win.

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The third AFC North game on Sunday was the Cleveland Browns versus the Denver Broncos. The Broncos won against the Browns 26-23. To say the least, the Broncos defense was on fire, much to the dismay of the Browns. Denver is now 6-0 for the seventh time in the team’s history. The Browns were only able to steal the lead away from the Broncos once, and that was when linebacker Karlos Dansby caught an interception and ran it in for a touchdown. Cleveland quarterback Josh McCown was not on his game. He threw only two touchdown passes and also two interceptions, one of which was detrimental to the game. The second interception he threw happened with only 44 seconds left in overtime, losing the game for his team. The Broncos had their fourth defensive touchdown during this game made by cornerback Aqib Talib, a former New England Patriot. This is the eleventh straight game the Broncos have won against the Browns.

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Finally, the Baltimore Ravens lost to the San Francisco 49ers Sunday evening 25-20. The Ravens are now 1-5 and are tied with the Lions, Chiefs, and Jaguars for the worst record in the NFL. Baltimore was never able to grasp a lead during their game against the 49ers. This could be due to the fact that their kicker, Justin Tucker, missed a field goal by falling flat on his face when he tried to kick the ball. One could also point blame to cornerback Jimmy Smith who missed catching a potential interception that was thrown right to him. However, Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. had a pretty good game compared to the rest of his team. Smith caught seven passes for 137 yards and a touchdown on Sunday. Even though San Francisco had two 13-point leads and a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter, the Ravens did not give up. In the fourth quarter, the Ravens were able to get the ball back with only one minute and six seconds left on the clock, no timeouts remaining, and had 80 yards to go to score a touchdown. Quarterback Joe Flacco was able to get them to the 35-yard line, thanks to a catch made by Smith, but in the end, his Hail Mary attempt failed and the Ravens lost the game.

All stats from ESPN.com unless otherwise stated

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