They say keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
Behind Enemy Lines brings you your weekly recap of the rest of the AFC North, as the Ravens strive to be back on top of the division.
Look forward to Week 10:
Fresh off a bye week, the Bengals will travel to New York for a date with the Giants on Monday Night Football.
Result: L 14-21 @ YOUR HOMETOWN Baltimore Ravens
The Steelers, three-point favorites over the host Ravens, came out ice cold off a bye week against a very solid Baltimore defense. From the get go, not only were the Ravens players winning the battles on the field, but Dean Pees was winning the coaching battle against Todd Haley. The Ravens neutralized Antonio Brown by using Tavon Young and safety help from Lardarius Webb. The Steelers failed to get Brown going until the 4th quarter. Brown still finished with seven catches for 85 yards and a TD.
The real win for the Ravens defense was completely taking Le’Veon Bell out of the game. Bell only managed 32 yards on 14 carries 38 yards on six catches.
The Steelers offense did go off on the 4th quarter to score 14 unanswered points, but it wasn’t enough as the Ravens defense did enough to end the game.
The Steelers front-seven has looked quite suspect this year and many Ravens fans were hoping it would be a good time to get West, Dixon and the run game going. However, the Steelers were dominant and neutralized the Ravens rushing attack. (Thanks in part to some shoddy blocking efforts.)
Outside of a 95-yard TD reception from old friend Mike Wallace, the defense handled the Ravens quite easily. Stopping the run game and keeping Joe Flacco out of rhythm weren’t enough for the win though, thanks to the stagnant offense. Artie Burns was able to pick off Flacco on one of the worst passing attempts of Joe’s career, but other than that the Ravens protected the football quite well.
James Harrison – 6 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 FF – Harrison looked his old self in the days of the Ravens-Steelers rivalry. He gave Ronnie Stanley and Joe Flacco a headache all day. It was a tough test for the rookie LT and he did not handle it well.
Look Forward to Week 10:
Things don’t get any easier for Pittsburgh, as they host the red-hot Dallas Cowboys at Heinz Field. See the next section for what Dallas did to Cleveland last week.
Result: L 10-35 vs. Dallas Cowboys
Cody Kessler continued to look the part of an NFL quarterback. He gained 203 yards and a TD on 19 competitions. His favorite target, Terrelle Pryor Sr., was able to find the end zone for the score on five catches for 47 yards.
The Browns failed to establish a run game again after having a lot of success with Isiah Crowell early in the season. They were held to 45 yards on just 13 carries. The low play count shows how dominant the Cowboys were in this game. The Cowboys dominated the possession by doubling the amount of time the Browns had the ball (39:39 for the Cowboys vs. just 20:21 for Cleveland).
This is a good sign for the Ravens in Week 10, as the stout Baltimore defense can look to force quick punts and dominate the possession game.
It is starting to become the same old boring story every week (and hopefully it continues in Week 10). The Browns defense was poor in just about every aspect of the defensive game.
Dak Prescott completed 21/27 passes for 247 yards and 3 TD. He also was not sacked and was only hit once. The Cowboys run game dominated, gaining 168 yards and two TD on 42 carries.
This is great news for Ravens fans who are hoping to see a rejuvenated offense on Thursday night. The Browns had no answer for Jason Witten and they have regularly struggled against opposing TE’s. Look for the Ravens to get Dennis Pitta involved early and control the clock in this bout.
Cody Kessler – 19/27, 203 yards, 1 TD, 0 turnovers – Kessler is piecing together a solid rookie campaign. Between him and Pryor Sr. there is certainly some hope for the Browns young offense.
Look forward to Week 10:
In a rematch of Week 2, the Browns will travel to Baltimore for a date with the Ravens. The Browns will need to shut down the Ravens run game in order to force throws from a shaky Joe Flacco. If the run game gets established it will be difficult for the Browns to force punts and control the flow of play.
On offense, the Browns will need to try and get Crowell going to pull the DB’s in. If they can do that they may be able to use the big play ability of Pryor Sr., Andrew Hawkins and Gary Barnidge to burn the Ravens. Baltimore will need to dial up a pass rush to get to Kessler early and often.