Wake-up: AFC North teams start strong

August, 9, 2013
8/09/13
8:00
AM ET
It's time to break up the AFC North. Of course, that's an exaggeration. Nonetheless, you can admit to being a little impressed that this division went 3-0 in preseason openers on Thursday night. The combined score: 105-45. Here's your triumphant wake-up call ...

RAVENS: Backup running back Bernard Pierce and wide receiver Deonte Thompson both left with injuries in the first half of the Ravens' 44-16 preseason victory at Tampa Bay. Pierce had his knee wrapped and Thompson had a soft boot on as they left Raymond James Stadium, according to The Baltimore Sun. Asked about injuries after the game, coach John Harbaugh said, "We look pretty good right now. We’ll have some things we’ll have to see about tomorrow -- X-rays, MRIs, things like that. So we’ll have to see.”

BENGALS: Wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher was a surprise star of the Bengals' 34-10 preseason win at Atlanta. He scored two touchdowns, including one on a 71-yard punt return, and caught two passes for a team-best 59 yards. “It was nice to make good on the opportunities,” Sanzenbacher told The Cincinnati Enquirer. “Obviously it’s the first preseason game so it’s nothing to get crazy about but it’s nice to start off fast.”

STEELERS: Wide receiver Plaxico Burress has a torn rotator cuff, which could end his season, a source familiar with the injury told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. Burress, who turns 36 next week, was hurt Thursday in practice when he landed awkwardly on his right arm while trying to make a catch over defensive backs Da'Mon Cromartie-Smith and Ryan Steed, according to multiple reports. Of all the injuries that the Steelers have had this camp, this ranks near the bottom of the list as far as importance. Burress wasn't even guaranteed a spot on the team because Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Markus Wheaton and Jerricho Cotchery were ahead of him on the depth chart.

BROWNS: In the Browns' 27-19 preseason win over the Rams, Brandon Weeden had a strong start to the preseason, leading two drives that resulted in 10 points and showing a command of the offense. He completed 10 of 13 attempts for 112 yards and a two-yard touchdown pass to Dion Lewis. "I thought he did a good job," coach Rob Chudzinski said, via The Plain Dealer. "He was efficient and led us to some drives. Ultimately, doing that is what his job is all about."

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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