AFC North: 2011 Week 13 coverage

Wrap-up: Ravens 24, Browns 10

December, 4, 2011
Thoughts on the Baltimore Ravens' 24-10 victory at the Cleveland Browns:

What it means: Even though the performance was as sloppy as the weather at times, the Ravens showed they had the focus to put away a team with a losing record on the road. Baltimore improves to 9-3, which is tied for the best record in the AFC, and remains tied with Pittsburgh atop the AFC North (although the Ravens own the tiebreaker). The Browns (4-8) lost for the fifth time in six weeks and secured another non-winning season.

Running it up: The Ravens exposed one of the worst run defenses in the NFL, gaining 290 yards on the ground (191 yards more than their per-game average) on a franchise-record 52 attempts. Ray Rice ran for 204 yards and one touchdown.

Running one back: The Ravens' Lardarius Webb sealed the victory with a 68-yard punt return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. It marked the Ravens' first punt return for a score since 2007.

Poor passing: Colt McCoy was 17-of-35 for 192 yards, but his biggest mistake came at the end of the first half. He was picked off by Ravens rookie Jimmy Smith, whose turnover led to a field goal late in the second quarter. The Ravens' Joe Flacco didn't have a great day, either. He was 10-of-23 for 158 yards.

Kicking concern: The Ravens' Billy Cundiff missed two more field goals, failing on attempts from 34 and 41 yards. He has eight misses this year, although five have come from 50 yards or longer.

What's next: The Browns have to make the short drive down to Pittsburgh for a Thursday night game. The Ravens return home to play another last-place team, the Indianapolis Colts, on Sunday.

PITTSBURGH -- Thoughts on the Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers game:

What it means: The Steelers ambushed the Bengals to make this a two-team race for the AFC North title. At the very least, Pittsburgh (9-3) will remain tied with the Ravens atop the division and will take a one-game lead if Baltimore loses at Cleveland on Sunday. The Bengals (7-5) essentially fall three games back of the Steelers because of the season sweep, and would only lose hold of the No. 6 seed if the Broncos win. Cincinnati's previous four losses were by a total of 21 points.

"Special" victory: Pittsburgh rolled out to a 28-7 halftime lead with superior special-teams play. First-round pick Cameron Heyward blocked a Bengals field goal attempt on Cincinnati's opening drive. Stevenson Sylvester forced Brandon Tate to fumble on a kickoff return in the second quarter, which led to a touchdown. And Antonio Brown's 60-yard punt return for a touchdown -- he didn't get touched on the runback -- put the Steelers up by 21 points.

Harrison heating up: Pittsburgh outside linebacker James Harrison recorded three sacks for the second time in four games. The Steelers needed Harrison to step up because LaMarr Woodley left in the first half after re-injuring his hamstring.

Roethlisberger rebounds: Coming off a season-low in passing yards last Sunday, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed 15 of 23 passes for 176 yards and two touchdowns. His passer rating was 117.3, the fourth time it has surpassed 100 this season. The fractured right thumb doesn't seem to be a problem for Roethlisberger, who was allowed to rest for the final 10 minutes of the game because of the rout.

Flag day for Bengals: Cincinnati committed 10 penalties for 109 yards, and some of them were costly. A.J. Green's false start penalty took away a touchdown on the Bengals' opening drive, and a delay of game then negated a successful field goal. This looked like the Bengals from 2010, not 2011.

What's next: The Steelers have a quick turnaround, playing the last-place Browns on Thursday night at Heinz Field. The Bengals return home Sunday to face the Houston Texans, who lost their top two quarterbacks (Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart) to injuries in November.