It's Thursday and that means it's once again time for AFC North Thursday and week two produced an inter-divisional week in that all four teams played each other. Obviously, with the four teams playing each other, two won and two lost, with the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals coming out on top.
As usual, we will start with the now first place Ravens. It wasn't the prettiest of wins, but Baltimore still found a way to win as their defense held the Cleveland Browns to just 84 total yards in the second half and held them out of the endzone all day en route to a 14-6 victory.
It was quite a bounce back performance for this Ravens defense, who after week one came in ranked last in total defense, as they did not allow the Browns to enter the endzone the entire day, which included a significant redzone stand early in the game. On their very first play of the game, the Browns hooked up for a 53 yard pass from Brandon Weeden to TE Jordan Cameron that gave Cleveland a first and goal on the Ravens seven yardline. Baltimore's defense proceeded to allow the Browns to gain just four more yards, including forcing an incomplete pass on third and goal and Cleveland had to settle for a field goal. It may have been early, but a touchdown there would have ended up changing the whole complexion of the game.
The Ravens finally got on the scoreboard in the third quarter as they orchestrated a 12 play, 80 yard drive that was capped off by a five yard Bernard Pierce touchdown run, which was his second career rushing touchdown. Pierce finished the day with a team high 58 yards rushing on 19 attempts. Marlon Brown continued to impress Sunday as he and Joe Flacco hooked up for the second time in two weeks for a touchdown. In the fourth quarter, and only a one point lead, Flacco found Brown on a crossing route underneath and Brown ran it in for a touchdown and a eight point Ravens lead.
The Cincinnati Bengals hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football in week two and it too was a prototypical AFC North matchup. Cincinnati used a ten point second half to pull out a 20-10 victory to push the Steelers to an 0-2 start to the 2013 season.
Defense was the name of the game for the Bengals and they shutout the Steelers in the second half and forced two turnovers on the night. Pittsburgh was only able to manage 279 total yards in the game and a miniscule 44 yards rushing.
Ben Roethlisberger completed 20 of 37 pass attempts for 251 yards, one touchdown and one interception, while Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton completed 25 of 45 pass attempts for 280 yards and one touchdown.
Despite being able to shutdown Bengals wide receiver AJ Green to just 41 yards on six grabs, Cincinnati tight ends combined to catch nine passes for 132 yards and was a thorn in Pittsburgh's side all night.
It was a competitive week in the AFC North in week two with all four teams playing each other, and as a result, there is now a two way tie atop the division with the other two teams just one game back.
AFC North Week 3 Schedule
- Baltimore Ravens (1-1) vs Houston Texans (2-0) Sunday, 1pm
- Cincinnati Bengals (1-1) vs Green Bay Packers (1-1) Sunday, 1pm
- Cleveland Browns (0-2) at Minnesota Vikings (0-2) Sunday, 1pm
- Pittsburgh Steelers (0-2) vs Chicago Bears (2-0) Sunday, 8:30pm
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