AFC North: 2010 Week 12 Wrap-ups

Wrap-up: Steelers 19, Bills 16 (OT)

November, 28, 2010
Here are some thoughts on the Pittsburgh Steelers' 19-16 overtime victory over the Buffalo Bills:

What it means: Although it was an extremely hard-fought game, the Steelers continued their trend of taking care of business against bad teams and improved to 8-3. Pittsburgh's three losses this year have come against teams with winning records. The Steelers also put pressure on the Baltimore Ravens (7-3) to keep winning within the division. The Ravens host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday evening.

What I liked: Key players stepped up in key moments for Pittsburgh. Steelers' quarterback Ben Roethlisberger didn't have his best game. But he led a late scoring drive in overtime and had an 18-yard scramble in the fourth quarter to set up a pair of big field goals for Pittsburgh. New Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham made both clutch field goals in the fourth quarter and overtime, which surely will acclimate him in Pittsburgh's locker room. He was 4-for-4 on field goals for the day. Suisham connected on field goal kicks of 45, 46, 48 and 41. Steelers safety Troy Polamalu also made an interception off a tipped ball late in the fourth quarter to prevent the Bills from scoring a potential go-ahead touchdown.

What I didn't like: The Steelers took a 13-0 point lead into halftime and didn't put the Bills away. Pittsburgh's offense sputtered in the second half and the defense allowed some big plays to get Buffalo back in the game with 13 unanswered points. It was a fight for every yard the rest of the game. Pittsburgh also played sloppy, as tailback Rashard Mendenhall fumbled and the Steelers had a high number of penalties (10 for 107 yards) for the second straight week.

What's next: Pittsburgh has to play a lot better next week for it's biggest game to date of the season. The Steelers will travel to M&T Bank Stadium to battle the rival Ravens with first place on the line in the AFC North. The Ravens won the previous meeting at Heinz Field during the final game of Roethlisberger's suspension. Pittsburgh will look to avoid the season sweep in what should be another great game in this heated rivalry.

Wrap-up: Browns 24, Panthers 23

November, 28, 2010
Here are thoughts on the Cleveland Browns' 24-23 victory against the Carolina Panthers:

What it means: The Browns broke a two-game losing streak, but it wasn't easy. The Panthers fought back in the second half and took a fourth-quarter lead before Browns kicker Phil Dawson put Cleveland ahead for good with 2:47 left. Cleveland improved to 4-7.

What I liked: The Browns got running back Peyton Hillis going early this week. He finished with 131 yards rushing and recorded three first-half touchdowns. He has 11 rushing touchdowns this year. Jim Brown and Leroy Kelly are the only players other than Hillis in Browns history to rush for 11 or more touchdowns in a season.

What I didn't like: I didn't like the decision to start quarterback Jake Delhomme this week. Browns coach Eric Mangini said Delhomme's familiarity with his former team helped make the difference. The decision nearly cost Mangini and the Browns as Delhomme struggled. He threw for 245 yards and two interceptions, including a pick six in the third quarter that put Carolina back in the game.

What's next: The Browns have a tough road contest against the Miami Dolphins. Cleveland needs to play better than it did against the lowly Panthers (1-10). After Delhomme's performance, there also will be plenty of quarterback questions this week involving Delhomme, Seneca Wallace and rookie Colt McCoy (ankle), who was inactive Sunday.

Wrap-up: Jets 26, Bengals 10

November, 25, 2010
Here are some thoughts on the New York Jets' 26-10 victory against the Cincinnati Bengals:

What it means: Cincinnati lost its NFL-high eighth straight game, falling to 2-9. It also confirms the Bengals will have another losing season in 2010. This game looked like many of the other losses for Cincinnati. It involved turnovers, mental errors, and the inability to put together four solid quarters of football.

What I liked: Cincinnati played competitive in the first half and even led the Jets, 7-3, at intermission. But the better team eventually took over. The Bengals also got decent play from first-year defensive lineman Carlos Dunlap (two sacks) and rookie receiver Jordan Shipley (five receptions, 38 yards, one touchdown). These two are auditioning to become a core part of Cincinnati's rebuilding efforts in 2011.

What I didn't like: The Bengals were not ready to play in the second half for the second straight game. After giving up 35 unanswered points to the lowly Buffalo Bills last week, the Jets outscored Cincinnati 23-3 in the second half Thursday. Doing simple math, that means the Bengals have been outscored an astounding 58-3 after intermission in the past two weeks. The special teams also were horrendous for the Bengals, and quarterback Carson Palmer (135 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions) had his fifth multi-interception game of the season.

What's next: The brutal part of Cincinnati's schedule continues. After facing the 9-2 Jets, the Bengals will host the 8-3 New Orleans Saints Dec. 5 at Paul Brown Stadium. The good news is Cincinnati has 10 days to get healthy for the Saints, who also have an extended week after beating the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving. The game against New Orleans isn't sold out, so Cincinnati will need a surge in ticket sales to avoid its second straight blackout at home this season.