IN THE HOOD: The preseason winds down

Street Talk IN THE HOOD: The preseason winds down

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In the Hood presents this update of the third week of the 2009 pre-season in the AFC North.




With Joe Flacco nearly perfect and

‘s defense as ferocious as ever, the Ravens appear ready for the regular season. Flacco proved too much for the poor-tackling Panthers on Saturday, throwing for 247 yards and a touchdown in a 17-13 victory that included another dominant outing by the Ravens’ stingy defense. The Panthers, playing without their top two running backs and three starters on defense, were overwhelmed early by Flacco, who completed 23 of 28 passes. The second-year quarterback directed first-half touchdown drives of 80 and 90 yards. He showed poise in the pocket the few times he was pressured, dumping balls to running back Ray Rice and tight end Todd Heap, who caught the go-ahead 9-yard TD early in the second quarter. Derrick Mason caught six passes for 71 yards and Kelley Washington moved to the front of the crowded receivers- race by catching three passes for 66 yards.

Haloti Ngata and Antwan Barnes combined to sack Jake Delhomme to end

‘s final possession of the first half, which produced only John Kasay’s 38-yard field goal. The Ravens’ first-team defense was done for the night after Jarret Johnson sacked Delhomme in a three-and-out to start the third quarter.
With Mark Clayton (hamstring) still out,

made his second straight start and caught a 17-yard pass on the first play from scrimmage. He later beat top

cornerback Chris Gamble on a 42-yard catch. Gamble had a missed tackle on Mason’s 26-yard catch that set up Willis McGahee’s 1-yard TD run that put

ahead 14-3 at halftime. Steve Hauschka, who had moved ahead of rookie Graham Gano for

‘s PK job, missed a 27-yard FG attempt before making a 38-yarder. Coach John Harbaugh said he won’t decide on the job until after the final preseason game. 
Schedule and Results



         W   23 – 0


New York
Jets      W   24 – 23

8/29   @

           W   17 – 13

9/3     @





The Bengals have lost five fumbles and thrown three interceptions in three preseason games. "When you turn the football over, you have a difficult time winning, whether you’re playing in the regular season, the preseason, junior high, sixth grade, whatever it is," coach Marvin Lewis said. Both teams were missing their starting quarterbacks, turning the game into a preview of how it might be if their injuries linger. The Bengals were reminded that they really need Carson Palmer back for their opener against

. JT O’Sullivan was sacked three times, lost a fumble and had two passes batted away at the line. His best moment was an improvised underhand pass to running back Brian Leonard that went for 25 yards and set up a touchdown. O’Sullivan was 7 of 13 for 94 yards while playing into the third quarter.

With Palmer sidelined the last two games by a sprained left ankle, the offense has moved the ball in spurts but failed to get many points because of penalties and mistakes. O’Sullivan’s fumble at the

20-yard line set up the Rams’ second touchdown. Running back Bernard Scott, a sixth-round draft pick from Abilene Christian, had a fumble that safety James Butler returned 73 yards for a touchdown.

also intercepted one of Jordan Palmer’s passes in the third quarter and returned it 68 yards before the third-string quarterback tackled him. Chris Henry caught a 54-yard touchdown pass from Jordan Palmer in the fourth quarter, beating rookie CB Bradley Fletcher down the left sideline. Henry has all three of the Bengals’ touchdown catches in the preseason.
Schedule and Results


8/14   @

New Orleans
     L 17 – 7

8/20   @
New England    W 7 – 6


St. Louis
                 L 24 – 21





One Browns quarterback threw a touchdown pass. The other did not. And for Brady Quinn, that perfect pass may have pushed him over the top. Quinn threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Braylon Edwards and outplayed Derek Anderson in perhaps their final auditions for Coach Eric Mangini to be

‘s starting quarterback, and the Browns beat the Tennessee Titans 23-17 in an exhibition game Saturday night. Quinn and Anderson entered the third preseason game in a virtual dead heat. Earlier this week, Mangini described their summer-long competition as "very close" and it remains that way. They’ve posted similar stats with Quinn’s TD pass — the only one by a Cleveland QB in the preseason — as the only thing separating the pair. Mangini said he is no nearer to naming his starter for the Sept. 13 opener against

After coming off the bench last week, Quinn got the start and finished 11 of 15 for 128 yards. He led the Browns to one TD and two field goals in his four series.

went 7 of 11 for 77 yards and led the Browns to one field goal on two possessions. He didn’t have an interception, but one poorly thrown ball was dropped by

cornerback Tenard Davis. Quinn was given a short field to work with in the third quarter when the Browns recovered a

fumble on a kickoff at the Titans 34. On first down, Quinn threw underneath to Jamal Lewis who weaved 14 yards on a screen. Quinn then fired his TD pass on an inside slant to Edwards, who moments earlier made a sensational one-handed catch in the end zone on a pass from Anderson but could only get one foot down. Quinn displayed nice arm strength on an 18-yard pass to Mike Furrey and later stepped up and drilled a pass to Josh Cribbs on third down for another 18 as

moved to the Titans 10.
Schedule and Results


8/15   @ Green Bay     L 17 – 0


                W 27 – 10


        W 23 – 17

9/3     @





Ben Roethlisberger hurriedly left the Steelers’ locker room wearing a ring that looked to be half the size of a football. A few minutes earlier, he showed why he’s won two oversized Super Bowl rings the last four seasons. Roethlisberger played a nearly flawless first half in his first game since injuring his right foot, James Farrior had a 22-yard interception return for a touchdown and Buffalo’s starting offense struggled yet again as the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Bills 17-0 in a preseason game Saturday night. Roethlisberger led two scoring drives while going 15 of 19 for 168 yards with a 103.5 passer rating before sitting out the second half — showing why Coach Mike Tomlin didn’t seem all that worried when his quarterback bruised his foot during the final training camp practice Aug 20. Roethlisberger didn’t play in a 17-13 loss to

two days later. "You give him time in the pocket, and he’ll usually make something happen," said left tackle Max Starks, who gave the Steelers a scare by falling on the quarterback’s foot during camp.
Big Ben’s big championship ring wasn’t his own: It was Shaquille O’Neal’s, which the quarterback gained possession of — for a week — during a reality TV show that pits Shaq against stars in other sports. Roethlisberger had more trouble winning that passing competition than he did throwing against the Bills. "I was really proud of the way the guys were able to move the ball and … change some plays at the line of scrimmage," Roethlisberger said. "We made some mistakes early, but then we drove down the field."
Rashard Mendenhall ran 16 times for 48 yards with Willie Parker out with a hamstring injury, although the first-round pick from last season fumbled inside the Bills 30 on

‘s opening possession. Mendenhall came back to score from the 4 on a 13-play, 87-yard drive in which Roethlisberger looked ready for the regular season, finding Limas Sweed for 16 yards, Hines Ward for 19 and Heath Miller for 18.
The Steelers starting defense has yet to allow a touchdown in 3 pre-season games.

out-gained the Bills 359-135 and led 41:15 to 18:45 in time of possession.

Schedule and Results



                   W 20 – 10

8/22   @

       L 17 – 13


                     W 17 – 0

9/3     @


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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   More from Eric Buckner


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