AFC North: 2011 Week 2 Wrap-ups

Wrap-up: Broncos 24, Bengals 22

September, 18, 2011
Thoughts on the Cincinnati Bengals' 24-22 loss at the Denver Broncos:

What it means: The Bengals missed an opportunity to take a one-game lead on the whole division because they couldn't complete the dramatic comeback against the banged-up Broncos. It would have been a strong start for a team that many predicted to finish at the bottom of the AFC North this season. This marked Cincinnati's ninth straight loss in Denver.

Dalton watch: Andy Dalton continued to show promise in his second NFL start as he tried to rally the Bengals from a 14-point deficit in the second half. The rookie second-round pick came in with an injured right wrist, but he continually took advantage of the short-handed secondary. Dalton finished with 332 yards passing and two touchdowns.

Thumbs up: Wide receiver A.J. Green is validating the Bengals' decision to use the fourth overall pick on him. He caught nearly everything thrown his way, making 10 receptions for 124 yards. His 5-yard touchdown grab showed great concentration and athleticism as he dragged his foot while falling out of bounds.

Thumbs down: The Bengals flopped on third down, failing to convert 10 of 11 chances. Cincinnati's secondary had trouble keeping up with Denver wide receiver Eric Decker, who scored two touchdowns. His final one was embarrassing because two Bengals defenders collided, which allowed Decker to walk into the end zone untouched.

Injury update: After the game, wide receiver Jordan Shipley walked on crutches while wearing a brace on his left knee.

What's next: The Bengals play their home opener next Sunday when they host the San Francisco 49ers.

Wrap-up: Browns 27, Colts 19

September, 18, 2011
Thoughts on the Cleveland Browns' victory against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium:

What it means: The Browns avoided an 0-2 start for the first time since 2007. This also marked the first victory for head coach Pat Shurmur, who was presented the game ball in the locker room from Colt McCoy. This was a strong rebound game for Cleveland, even though it came against a Colts team struggling without Peyton Manning.

Thumbs up: Running back Peyton Hillis made up for losing a fumble by responding with a 24-yard touchdown run. The Browns attacked the Colts' traditionally weak run defense by handing the ball off to Hillis 27 times. The defense stepped up, especially in the red zone. Cleveland held the Colts to four field goals before giving up its only touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Thumbs down: It's difficult to find much fault in this performance. There was a questionable play call on the Browns' second possession, when Shurmur called for a play-action fake on third-and-2, which resulted in Dwight Freeney sacking McCoy.

McCoy on the move: The best part of McCoy's game today was his ability to throw on the run. His 16-yard touchdown pass to tight end Evan Moore highlighted this point. This is huge because it will allow him to avoid sacks behind a sometimes inconsistent offensive line. McCoy also didn't turn the ball over.

Spark from Cribbs: It's no secret that the Browns are more dangerous when Josh Cribbs has the ball in his hands. His 52-yard kickoff return set up the Browns' first touchdown. His 43-yard punt return led to Cleveland's fourth-quarter touchdown.

What's next: The Browns go home to face the Miami Dolphins next Sunday.

Wrap-up: Titans 26, Ravens 13

September, 18, 2011
Thoughts on the Baltimore Ravens' 26-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans at LP Field:

What it means: The Ravens did what they previously called "foolishness" -- they suffered a letdown. After celebrating perhaps the biggest regular-season win of the John Harbaugh era -- the 35-7 triumph over the Pittsburgh Steelers -- the Ravens followed it up with one of the most deflating losses during that period. It was out of character for the Ravens to play so flat. This marks the Ravens' second loss to a team with a losing record in Harbaugh's three-plus seasons as head coach.

Thumbs up: There's not much to be happy with after failing to keep up the momentum from last week. Baltimore shut down Titans running back Chris Johnson, limiting him to 53 yards on 24 carries. The problem was everyone else made plays to beat the Ravens, especially wide receiver Kenny Britt.

Thumbs down: Where to begin? The Ravens' defense didn't record a sack and forced one turnover. This is inexcusable when playing a rebuilding team like Tennessee. The Ravens' offensive line got whipped, which explains the lack of production for quarterback Joe Flacco (15-for-32 for 197 yards) and running back Ray Rice (43 yards rushing).

Secondary struggles: A beat-up secondary couldn't handle Britt, who lit up Baltimore for 135 yards and one touchdown. The Titans seemed to target Cary Williams, although Domonique Foxworth gave up the touchdown to Britt. This is going to happen when Baltimore fails to put pressure on the quarterback. It's even more of a challenge when first-round pick Jimmy Smith (ankle) and veteran Chris Carr (hamstring) are inactive. Lardarius Webb also missed some time during the game with an injury.

Injury report: Left guard Ben Grubbs (toe) missed his first NFL game and was surprisingly replaced by Mark LeVoir and not Andre Gurode. Wide receiver-kickoff returner David Reed injured his shoulder in the fourth quarter and didn't return. Nose tackle Terrence Cody left with a concussion. The Ravens also limited the playing time of wide receiver Lee Evans, who is nursing an ankle injury.

What's next: The Ravens (1-1) stay on the road when they visit the St. Louis Rams next Sunday.