Wake-up call: Offensive breakdowns

October, 3, 2011
10/03/11
8:30
AM ET
Every morning, grab a cup of coffee and get your AFC North wake-up call here:

Because I'm still new at this blog, who do I call when there is a power outage? The offenses in the AFC North didn't just disappear. They all self-destructed.

Three quarterbacks -- Joe Flacco, Colt McCoy and Andy Dalton -- all had interceptions returned for touchdowns. The only one in the division who went unscathed was Ben Roethlisberger, and he's the one on crutches with a foot injury.

Flacco didn't throw a completion in the second or third quarters. Dalton was intercepted twice in the final 3 1/2 minutes of the first half. McCoy set team records for completions (40) and attempts, but his longest connection was a 97-yard interception return. And Roethlisberger had only one turnover, but it came on his final pass which ended the Steelers' hope of tying the game in the final seconds.

In total, the AFC North offenses scored five touchdowns and watched opposing defenses score three touchdowns. The division went 2-2 on Sunday, and that's because the defenses of Baltimore and Cincinnati were so impressive.

Here's what the local columnists had to say about the quarterbacks:

Cincinnati Enquirer's Paul Daugherty on Dalton: "Ultimately, it's Dalton's show. When the kid is on, you think the Bengals have a chance. Right now, he's got it about half right, which is a compliment. Who knows how the Bengals will do in the final three quarters of the season?"

Cleveland Plain Dealer's Bud Shaw on McCoy: "[Browns head coach Pat] Shurmur needs the time to decide what kind of offense makes sense for the Browns. Not what kind he'd ideally like to run. Even if the unspoken understanding in Berea is that this season is going to be all about discovery personnel-wise, chances to win keep coming every seven days. There's team building to be had in taking advantage of those, too. What Shurmur has now is McCoy shouldering too much, in part because the running game is turning too cute."

Baltimore Sun's Mike Preston on Flacco: "At this point the Ravens are not going to have a high-powered passing attack like New Orleans, New England and Indianapolis before the injury to Peyton Manning — nor will they have one soon. Fourth-year quarterback Joe Flacco isn't in that class yet, and isn't consistent enough to carry a team. But he is good enough to win and complement a strong running game."

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ron Cook on Roethlisberger: "It can't keep going like this for Roethlisberger. He might be able to keep playing with his foot injury, but he won't last the season taking this kind of beating. He has been sacked 14 times in four games. He has been hit hard at least a dozen other times. Certainly, he could sue his linemen for lack of support."

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?