AFC North: 2012 Week 10 coverage


PITTSBURGH -- My thoughts on the Pittsburgh Steelers' 16-13 overtime win over the Kansas City Chiefs:

What it means: Whether they were looking ahead to Sunday's game against Baltimore or simply unfocused, the Steelers (6-3) barely beat one of the NFL's worst teams on a rainy night at Heinz Field. Their fourth straight victory allowed the Steelers to remain one game behind the AFC North-leading Ravens (7-2). Pittsburgh had to come back from an early 10-0 deficit, the first time this season that the Chiefs (1-8) have led during a game. It marked the third time the Steelers have rallied from a double-digit hole during the win streak. The Steelers have now won 15 straight Monday night games in Pittsburgh.

Roethlisberger hurt: This could be a costly victory for the Steelers. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hurt his right shoulder after being sandwiched by Justin Houston and Tamba Hali on the third play of the third quarter. Roethlisberger was seen leaving the stadium with his shoulder in a sling. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he was getting an MRI at a local hospital. Roethlisberger left with the game tied at 10 and finished with 9-of-18 passing for 84 yards. In his first game since 2010, backup Byron Leftwich looked ragged in replacing Roethlisberger.

Coming through in overtime: After giving up the tying field goal in regulation, the Steelers' defense stepped up in overtime. Pittsburgh linebacker Lawrence Timmons intercepted Matt Cassel on the second play of overtime, and Shaun Suisham kicked the winning 23-yard field goal.

Flinching in the fourth quarter: The NFL's top-ranked defense couldn't stop the Chiefs in the final minute of the fourth quarter. With 22 seconds remaining, Cassel hit Dwayne Bowe for a 27-yard pass on fourth-and-15. That set up Ryan Succop's game-tying 46-yard field goal as time expired in regulation.

Capitalizing on penalties: Suisham's 31-yard field goal put the Steelers ahead 13-10 with 12:37 left in the fourth quarter. The key plays in the drive were a 22-yard pass interference penalty and a 14-yard roughing-the-passer penalty on Hali, both of which converted third downs.

Getting lucky: The Steelers were helped by the Chiefs playing like the Chiefs in the second half. With the game tied at 10, Succop, who had missed only two field goals in the first eight games, sliced a 33-yard attempt wide right in the open end of Heinz Field. After the Steelers went ahead in the fourth quarter, Chiefs wide receiver Jon Baldwin had a pass broken up at the Steelers' 25-yard line.

Spectacular catch: Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace, who has had his share of drops this season, made the best catch of the night with a one-handed touchdown grab. With the Steelers trailing 10-3, Wallace caught Roethlisberger's pass in the end zone with his outstretched right hand and cradled the ball in for his sixth touchdown of the season.

Costly turnover: Isaac Redman got the start but a turnover reduced his playing time. He fumbled at the Steelers' 11-yard line late in the first quarter, which was converted into a field goal to extend Kansas City's lead to 10-0. It was Redman's first fumble since he coughed it up twice in the 2011 regular-season opener. Just before the turnover, guard Willie Colon was called for two penalties: holding and unsportsmanlike conduct for cursing at an official.

What's next: The Steelers play host to the Ravens on Sunday night. They face Baltimore twice in the next three weeks.

Wrap-up: Bengals 31, Giants 13

November, 11, 2012
11/11/12
5:26
PM ET
My thoughts on the Cincinnati Bengals' 31-13 victory over the New York Giants at Paul Brown Stadium:

What it means: In their first win over a team with a winning record in more than a year, the Bengals (4-5) ended their four-game losing streak and keep their faint playoff hopes alive. They did so in impressive style against the reeling defending Super Bowl champion Giants (6-4). Cincinnati cracked 30 points for the first time since its Sept. 23 win at Washington. This was the Bengals' second win in five home games this season.

Dalton's streak ends: Andy Dalton's streak of eight straight games with an interception is over. He responded with a career-high four touchdowns, completing 21 of 30 passes for 199 yards. Dalton started off fast with 161 yards and two touchdowns in the first half.

Green's streak continues: Defenses can't keep A.J. Green out of the end zone. This time, the Giants made it easy on Green. Going uncovered (cornerback Corey Webster thought he had safety help deep), Green just had to wait for Dalton's pass to score a 56-yard touchdown. It's his eighth straight game with a touchdown catch. Only two players (Randy Moss and Antonio Gates) have had longer streaks over the past 10 seasons.

Defense stands tall: The NFL's 20th-ranked defense looked like a top-10 one. The Bengals sacked Eli Manning four times and forced four turnovers. Cincinnati had just 11 takeaways in its previous eight games.

Capitalizing on mistakes: The Bengals put the game away in the third quarter, when they scored 14 points off a pair of turnovers (they had three turnovers total in the quarter). Interceptions by Pat Sims and Nate Clements led to Dalton 10-yard touchdown passes to Jermaine Gresham and Mohamed Sanu.

What's next: The Bengals play at the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.

BALTIMORE -- My thoughts on the Baltimore Ravens' 55-20 win over the Oakland Raiders at M&T Bank Stadium:

What it means: The Ravens (7-2) maintained their lead in the AFC North heading into their toughest three-game stretch of the season (two games against Pittsburgh with a cross-country trip to San Diego sandwiched in between). This was Baltimore's 15th straight win at home -- the longest active streak in the NFL -- and the Ravens made it look easy against an outclassed Raiders team. The Raiders (3-6) have lost all five of their games to the Ravens in Baltimore.

Setting scoring mark: The Ravens set a single-game record for scoring with 55 points. They scored touchdowns on three passes, two runs, one fake field goal and one kickoff. Baltimore's previous best was 48 points. The Ravens had scored 38 points in their previous two games combined.

Flacco reaching the end zone: Joe Flacco has played his best at home this season, and this was no exception. He threw three touchdowns and scored a fourth on a 1-yard sneak. Flacco finished 21-of-33 for 341 yards. It was the 11th 300-yard game for Flacco.

Running it up: The Ravens had a 24-point lead (41-17) late in the third quarter, but that wasn't enough for Baltimore. Lining up for a field goal, holder Sam Koch took the snap and ran 7 yards untouched for the touchdown. The Ravens were showing no mercy in this one.

Jones establishes NFL record: Jacoby Jones became the first player in league history with two career kickoff returns of at least 105 yards. He returned one for 105 yards to cap the scoring Sunday. Last month against Dallas, Jones returned one 108 yards. He also becomes the first player in Ravens history to have two kickoff returns for touchdowns in the same season and in a career.

Taking it easy: The Ravens treated Sunday's game as an extra bye week. Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (shoulder) and cornerback Jimmy Smith (abdomen) suited up, but they didn't have to play a snap.

Painful outing for Reed: Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed failed to wrap up Darrius Heyward-Bey late in the second quarter, which allowed the Raiders receiver to score a 55-yard touchdown. Reed walked off the field holding his right shoulder. The injury has bothered him for most of the season and led to the Ravens getting fined when they didn't report it on the injury report. The rout allowed Reed to sit out the fourth quarter.

What's next: The Ravens play at the rival Steelers next Sunday night.

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