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AFC North Recap: Week 5

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The Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals lost, while the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers were victorious in uninspiring fashion.

Joe Robbins

Let's take a look around the AFC North to see where the division stands.

As for the situation in Cleveland, the Browns were soundly beaten by both Jake Locker and Charlie Whitehurst, when the former was injured with a potential return labeled under "questionable."

Meanwhile, there were defensive standoffs in the first half between Pittsburgh vs. Jacksonville and Baltimore vs. Indianapolis. The only points for Baltimore in the first half came off of a 52 yard filed goal by Tucker, whereas the Steelers managed just ten first half points against a stiff Jaguares defense. Up to that point, Roethlisberger had managed the only touchdown by either team on a 3rd down play action pass at the goaline.

In the second half, Tennessee continued to hold onto a two score lead for the third quarter, though the Browns managed to climb back into the running with a field goal, a safety, and then a touchdown. following their ten points before halftime.

The game ended with Brian Hoyer generating some Cleveland magic, as he rallied the Browns on a game-winning drive in the final minutes, capping a 292 yard, 3 touchdown performance. That was the biggest road-comeback win in NFL history.

The Ravens rapidly began to lose ground as well. Andrew Luck led the second touchdown drive of the game with nine minutes to go in the fourth quarter, making the score 20-6. Justin Forsett was able to make it a once-score game with an 11 yard touchdown run on the ensuing drive. However, with the Colts defense stepping up in a big way the last few weeks, Joe Flacco was unable to generate a late comeback. He finished with an interception and no scores.

The Jaguars lived up to some of the hype surrounding this week, with Blake Bortles displaying some very mature poise in the pocket. Said poise did take a shot when a rookie mistake led to a pick-six that put the Steelers up 17-9. With a strong defensive effort that continued to sink Pittsburgh's drives, the contest was a one-score game until the final minutes. However, the Steelers would use a clock-eating drive to end it, converting key third downs when it most counted.

And of course the Bengals....ah, the Bengals. The same ones that seem to be cursed with a tendency towards unending mediocrity when it comes to primetime games. Cincinnati was handed its first loss of the season by a very angry Patriots team, 43-17.

It was an ugly loss, to say the least. The run defense suffered immensely, there was confusion on the line, poor tackling and the secondary could be described as porous at best, though nonexistent might be a far more suitable term.

But you already read Josh's piece on the long night that we had to suffer yesterday, so we won't dwell on it in the AFC recap. The big picture still has the Bengals out front, with Baltimore in second place. That bodes well for Cincinnati, as they already own an early head-to-head tiebreaker over Baltimore.

And hey, if the Bengals manage to win three out of every four games this season, you won't find me complaining. Silver lining?