Wednesday, September 15, 2010
How I See It: AFC North Stock Watch
By James Walker
1. Cleveland Browns: I'm not sure how high Cleveland's stock was to begin the season, but it did take a hit with Sunday's loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This may have been the easiest game on the Browns' 2010 schedule, and they fumbled it away by blowing a 14-3 lead in the second quarter. The road doesn't get any easier. Cleveland's next game is against the Kansas City Chiefs (1-0), who upset the San Diego Chargers in Week 1.
Jake Delhomme threw two INTs and had a 59.2 quarterback rating against the Bucs.
2. Jake Delhomme, Browns quarterback: There were plenty of questions coming in about Delhomme, who was coming off the worst season of his career with the Carolina Panthers. He did a good job this preseason of quieting some of those concerns by not turning over the football. But Delhomme's old habits came back in the regular season. He threw two costly interceptions that got the Buccaneers back in the game. It was Delhomme's sixth multi-interception game in the past year.
3. Cincinnati Bengals' defense: I'm not going to overreact over one performance. But the Bengals' defense, which was No. 4 in the NFL last year, was manhandled by the New England Patriots. Cincinnati had no answer for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and allowed 5.1 yards per rush. To be fair, 14 of New England's 38 points came on a defensive touchdown and on special teams. But Cincinnati's defense looked tentative and has to play better for this team to have a winning season.
1. Baltimore Ravens' defense: There was plenty of chatter this offseason about whether the Ravens were turning into an offense-first team. But everyone got their answer Monday when Baltimore's defense carried the Ravens to a 10-9 victory over the New York Jets. Although the offense has plenty of talent and may eventually catch up, Baltimore's defense is already in midseason form. New York only mustered six first downs and 176 yards.
2. Lawrence Timmons, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker: The Steelers' win was a team effort with key contributions from a lot of players. But in my opinion, Timmons quietly had his best game as a Steeler. He recorded 11 tackles, which included three stops for losses and one pass defense. Timmons was extremely active and his timing and aggressiveness on the blitz are very good. If the season opener was any indication, the former first-round pick could be coming into his own in his fourth season.
3. Chad Ochocinco, Bengals receiver: If you're a fantasy buff, you will be very happy with Ochocinco's performance. He had a monster game, recording 12 receptions for 159 yards and one touchdown. But Ochocinco's numbers didn't have much impact on the actual game. The Bengals trailed 31-3 in the second half before the offense started clicking in garbage time. Cincinnati's offense needs to show up for all four quarters Sunday against Baltimore.