AFC North: 2011 Week 8 Wrap-ups

Wrap-up: 49ers 20, Browns 10

October, 30, 2011
Thoughts on the Cleveland Browns' 20-10 loss at the San Francisco 49ers:

What it means: The Browns lost for the third time in four games, securing their spot in last place in the AFC North. Cleveland (3-4) is the only team in the division with a losing record, falling 2.5 games behind the Steelers. It's the third time the Browns have lost by double digits.

Thumbs down: Middle linebacker D'Qwell Jackson. The offense should get a "Thumbs down" for three quarters, but Jackson made the critical error of the game. With the Browns trailing by seven points with under four minutes to go, Jackson stopped Frank Gore on third-and-3. But he grabbed Gore's facemask, which allowed the 49ers to convert the first down and eventually kick the game-clinching field goal.

McCoy watch: Colt McCoy was sacked four times, fumbled once (which set up a 49ers touchdown) and was intercepted when he threw into double coverage. He finished 22-of-34 for 241 yards.

Running on empty: Starting running back Peyton Hillis missed his second straight game with a hamstring injury, and backup Montario Hardesty left with a calf injury in the first half. As a result, the Browns didn't break a run longer than 9 yards.

What's next: The Browns play at the Houston Texans, which wraps up a stretch of three road games in four weeks.

Wrap-up: Bengals 34, Seahawks 12

October, 30, 2011
Thoughts on the Cincinnati Bengals' 34-12 win at the Seattle Seahawks:

What it means: The Bengals surpassed last year's win total and it's not even the midway point of the season. Cincinnati improved to 5-2 to remain tied with the Ravens for second place in the AFC North, a half-game behind the Steelers. This is the Bengals' fourth consecutive win and third victory on the road, which is significant for such a young team.

Thumbs up: Defense and special teams. After the Seahawks had closed to within 17-12 in the fourth quarter, the Bengals scored 17 points in the final five minutes without getting a touchdown from the offense. Brandon Tate returned a punt 56 yards for a touchdown (breaking a tackle late to reach the end zone), and Reggie Nelson brought back an interception 75 yards for another score. It was Cincinnati's first punt return for a touchdown since 2003.

Dalton watch: Andy Dalton guided the Bengals to a 17-3 lead when he hit Jerome Simpson for a 14-yard touchdown on a deep slant and dropped a 43-yard touchdown into the arms of rookie A.J. Green, who got behind the defense with a double move. Dalton did throw multiple interceptions for the first time since Oct. 2 against Buffalo, however.

Backup plan: Bernard Scott was more than adequate in filling in for Cedric Benson, who is serving a one-game suspension. Scott had 76 yards on 22 carries, showing good burst and the ability to break tackles. His 3.5-yard average might not be impressive, but it came against the Seahawks, who were giving up 3.1 yards per carry.

What's next: The Bengals go back on the road for a game at Tennessee before facing Pittsburgh and Baltimore.

Wrap-up: Ravens 30, Cardinals 27

October, 30, 2011

Thoughts on the Baltimore Ravens' 30-27 win over the visiting Arizona Cardinals:

What it means: The Ravens avoided a second straight loss to a one-win team. Baltimore trailed 24-3 late in the second quarter before scoring 24 straight points. The Ravens improve to 5-2 to keep pace in the competitive AFC North.

Game winner: Billy Cundiff's 25-yard field goal as time expired allowed the Ravens to overcome their first-half struggles. The game winner was set up by Joe Flacco's 36-yard pass to rookie Torrey Smith.

Thumbs up: Ray Rice and Anquan Boldin. Rice was involved in the offense again with three touchdowns after eight carries on Monday night. Boldin carried the offense in the second-half rally and finished with 145 yards on seven catches.

Thumbs down: Penalties and pass protection. The Ravens had to sweat this one in the second half because of mistakes. They were flagged 11 times for 99 yards. The biggest problem in the first half was the Ravens' blocking. Flacco had no time in an ever-collapsing pocket.

Flacco watch: Flacco shrugged off a terrible start to go 19-for-28 for 238 yards in the second half. It was his third 300-yard passing performance in his past five games.

What's next: The Ravens play at the Pittsburgh Steelers seven weeks after they beat their AFC North rival 35-7 in the season opener.