AFC NORTH: Week 13

Street Talk AFC NORTH: Week 13

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Quotes of note from week #12 in the AFC North

·         "You want to send a message to the other people watching the film that once your head is underwater, we’re going to keep it there," Ravens defensive end-linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "We’ve got the mentality that we don’t let people back in the game. We want to beat people [into] submission."

·         "It’s a curveball for us, but we had guys who stepped in and knew the game plan and knew how to execute it," Bengals quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said; commenting on the deactivation of WR Chad Johnson for violating team rules. "Nothing changed. It was more of a curveball."

·         "It was a blizzard out there, the wind was coming from the side and a lot of balls were going sideways. I threw a lot of sliders out there," Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. "It was hard to see."

·         We didn’t play very well," Browns coach Romeo Crennel said. "We were inconsistent and we couldn’t operate on either side of the ball. When you turn the ball over five times in a game, it’s hard to get things done."


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Lost 1

Week #12 Scores in the AFC North

Baltimore    36         Philadelphia    7

Pittsburgh   27         Cincinnati      10

Houston      16         Cleveland       6

Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore went up 12-7 in the third quarter when Jameel McClain blocked a punt by Sav Rocca and the ball bounced out of the end zone. The Ravens established the lead late in the second quarter of a scoreless defensive struggle on a 44 yard FG by Matt Stover. On the following play Ed Reed picked off a Donovan McNabb pass and returned it 43 yards to the Philadelphia 6. On third down from the 1, Joe Flacco threw a pass that Daniel Wilcox snagged with his left hand in the right side of the end zone giving the Ravens a 10-0 lead.
The Eagles closed to within 10-7 on the subsequent kick return, courtesy of Quentin Demps and some great blocking by the Eagles return team. McClain’s blocked punt for a safety netted the only points scored in the 3rd quarter. Stover kicked a field goal to launch a 24-point fourth quarter that included a 53-yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco to Mark Clayton, Reed’s 108 yard interception return and a 1-yard TD run by Le’Ron McClain. Reed returned two interceptions for a total of 151 yards — more than the passing yardage of both Philadelphia quarterbacks. Reed avoided several tackles on the right sideline during his end zone-to-end zone run. "It’s a blessing just to come out, read the keys and do your job," said Reed, who has returned five interceptions for touchdowns in his career. "Ed Reed is just one of the greatest ballplayers I’ve ever seen," Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said. John Harbaugh, who was looking forward to this game since the NFL schedule was released, said, "There is no way to describe it. It was meaningful to see Andy Reid over there."

Cincinnati Bengals

Ryan Fitzpatrick, under constant pressure from a Pittsburgh defense that leads the NFL in almost every major statistical category, was below 100 yards passing until a short drive in the fourth quarter ended with Shayne Graham’s 26-yard field goal. Fitzpatrick finished 20-of-37 for 168 yards, but the Bengals were outgained 364-208. Not having wide receiver Chad Johnson made it a lot harder for the Bengals. He was deactivated for violating team rules, though Coach Marvin Lewis wouldn’t explain what Johnson did. Johnson’s absence allowed the Steelers to double cover T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who was coming off eight consecutive games with six or more catches but found little open space downfield and ended with four catches for 20 yards.

"They did what they felt was best and whether I agree with it or disagree with it, it doesn’t matter," Houshmandzadeh said of Johnson’s absence. "He (Lewis) is the head coach and Mike Brown owns the team and they are going to do what they want. I’m sure he would have helped, but we’ve lost eight games with him." Cincinnati scored first on Fitzpatrick’s 10-yard pass to Glenn Holt on third-and-6 late in the first. "It’s been the tale of our season," Houshmandzadeh said. "The defense plays great; the offense is bad, basically." Fitzpatrick was sacked only once after being dropped seven times by Pittsburgh last month.

Cleveland Browns

Their season in shambles, the Cleveland Browns left the field on Sunday to an eerie silence and thousands of empty, orange seats. Another home loss had left them beaten, battered and bewildered. "There’s no explanation for it," running back Jamal Lewis said. "We were just all over the place." Picked apart by Houston quarterback Sage Rosenfels and unable to do anything once they had the ball, the Browns were humiliated in a 16-6 loss on Sunday to the Texans, who snapped an eight-game road losing streak and dropped Cleveland deeper into a seemingly bottomless abyss of defeat. They lost their third straight at home, made five turnovers and watched their ever-faithful fans; who have endured dysfunctional football for a decade, leave by the tens of thousands in the final minutes. Unlike the previous two losses, the Browns didn’t blow a double-digit lead as they fell behind 10-0 early and never recovered.

Cleveland quarterback Brady Quinn was pulled in the second half of his third start by coach Romeo Crennel after throwing two interceptions, the second a killer inside Houston’s 10-yard line. Quinn went 8-of-18 for 94 yards, picking up 42 on a pass to Braylon Edwards in the second quarter. Cleveland’s loss capped a turbulent week for the Browns, who could be on the verge of another massive rebuild this winter. On Thursday, general manager Phil Savage apologized for sending a profane e-mail to a fan following Monday’s win over the Bills. Savage’s admission was the latest episode in a soap opera of a season perhaps best defined by Edwards’ slippery hands. A Pro Bowler last season, Edwards leads the NFL in dropped passes. He had three more on Sunday, including a potential TD in the final minutes. To add insult to injury, Quinn’s broken right index finger worsened during the Texans’ game and the club has decided to shut down the second year signal caller for the balance of the season.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers honored defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau with a pregame ceremony for his 50 years as an NFL coach and player. His league-best defense found the best possible way to pay tribute to him. The Steelers limited the depleted Bengals to six first downs following an early touchdown drive and found just enough offense themselves amid the snow flurries to control the clock behind Ben Roethlisberger and beat Cincinnati on Thursday night. Pittsburgh wasn’t dominating — except defensively — in winning its fifth in a row over Cincinnati, its longest streak since an eight-game run in the early 1990s.

The Steelers trailed 7-0 until Roethlisberger threw a 3-yard pass to tight end Heath Miller, their first touchdown in more than seven quarters, and didn’t take control until backup running backs Mewelde Moore and Gary Russell led a third-quarter drive that made it 20-7. Roethlisberger himself scored from the 8 late in the game as Pittsburgh held a more than 10-minute edge in time of possession. Before that, Russell ran 2 yards for his first NFL touchdown with 16 seconds left in the third after Moore, benched four days before after being stopped at the goal line by San Diego on fourth-and-inches, ran four times for 21 yards and made a 22-yard reception during a 64-yard drive. Starting running back Willie Parker was on the sideline with an aggravated knee injury after being held to 37 yards on 14 carries. Jeff Reed also kicked field goals of 37 and 38 yards.

Week #13 Match-ups and Predictions

Baltimore at Cincinnati

·         Cedric Benson has 79 yards on his last 39 carries. Opponents have sacked Cincinnati QB 39 times, but Cincinnati only has 11 sacks in 11 games. Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown more than 30 passes in each of his starts.

·         Baltimore rushed for 229 yards in week #1 versus Cincinnati. Ed Reed averages 28.7 yards per INT return; highest ever among NFL players with 30+ INT. Mark Clayton is averaging 47.3 yards per TD this season.

ITH PREDICTION –   Baltimore   34     Cincinnati   13 

Cleveland vs. Indianapolis

·         Cleveland committed 5 turnovers in its loss to the Texans in week #12 (3 INT and 2 fumbles). They are 3-0 this season when Jamal Lewis carries 20 times or more.

·         Indianapolis has failed to score more than 13 points in its last 2 games versus Cleveland. Gary Brackett has at least 8 tackles in his last 6 games. Indianapolis is 4-0 versus Cleveland since the Browns returned to NFL play in 1999. Peyton Manning has thrown 9 TD and 1 INT in his last 4 starts.

ITH PREDICTION –   Indianapolis   27     Cleveland   17   

Pittsburgh at New England

·         Matt Cassel is the first QB to throw for 400 yards in consecutive games since Billy Volek in 2004. Randy Moss and Wes Welker each had at least 120 receiving yards last week versus the Dolphins. Richard Seymour needs 1 sack to tie his career high of 8.

·         Ben Roethlisberger has not thrown multiple TD in a game since week #7. James Harrison and Lamar Woodley have combined for 22.5 sacks.

ITH PREDICTION –   New England   23     Pittsburgh   17

Last Week Record:    3 – 0

Season to Date:     22 – 13

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Eric Buckner

About Eric Buckner

Eric Buckner is a native of Baltimore and has lived in the area his entire life. A graduate of Towson University , Eric has been a student of professional football since the day he wept in his grandfather’s bedroom after the Baltimore Colts were upset by the New York Jets in Super Bowl III. A loyal fan of the Colts and subsequently the Ravens, Eric’s passion for the NFL is unwavering as evidenced by his near flawless attendance record at Ravens’ games. He’s missed only one preseason game — back in 2005. We’ll cut him some slack since he was on his honeymoon. You won’t find Eric slacking when it comes to covering the AFC North for

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