AFC North: 2012 Week 13 Wrap-ups

Wrap-up: Bengals 20, Chargers 13

December, 2, 2012

My thoughts on the Cincinnati Bengals' 20-13 victory at the San Diego Chargers:

What it means: The Bengals (7-5) kept pace in the AFC playoff race with their fourth straight win. Cincinnati remains tied with Pittsburgh for the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC. Like the Steelers, the Bengals closed to within two games of the AFC North-leading Baltimore Ravens (9-3) with four weeks remaining. The Chargers (4-8) lost for the fourth straight time.

Dalton bounces back: Dalton scored the winning touchdown with 4:11 left, and it made up for some costly mistakes. He threw two interceptions (his first in four games) and had one returned for a touchdown. But with the game on the line, Dalton scrambled for 6 yards and dove in the end zone for the winning score late in the fourth quarter. It's the fifth fourth-quarter comeback of Dalton’s career.

Still running: BenJarvus Green-Ellis continued his tear, running for 118 yards on 25 carries (4.7-yard average). It marked the first time a Bengals running back has gained more than 100 yards in three straight games since Corey Dillon in 1999.

Defense shuts down Chargers: The Bengals' defense didn't allow a touchdown and forced the Chargers to kick field goals after driving inside the Cincinnati 3-yard line twice. The Bengals ended the final two San Diego series with Carlos Dunlap forcing Philip Rivers to fumble and Reggie Nelson picking off Rivers in the end zone. That Dunlap turnover led to the winning touchdown.

What's next: The Bengals return home, where they play the Dallas Cowboys.

Wrap-up: Browns 20, Raiders 17

December, 2, 2012

My thoughts on the Cleveland Browns' 20-17 win at the Oakland Raiders:

What it means: The Browns (4-8) ended a 12-game road losing streak, winning for the first time away from home since Sept. 18, 2011. Cleveland also won back-to-back games for the first time since September 2011. The Browns are now 4-3 since starting the season 0-5. The Raiders (3-9) lost for the fifth straight time.

Brown steps up: With Cleveland ahead by three points, Browns cornerback Sheldon Brown stopped the go-ahead score by picking off Carson Palmer at the Browns' 6-yard line. It was the Browns' only forced turnover of the game. Brown broke up three other passes as well.

Closing it out: The Browns, who have had their problems in the fourth quarter this year, sealed the win with a 14-play, 94-yard drive in the fourth quarter. It was capped by Trent Richardson's 3-yard touchdown run with 3:27 remaining, which extended Cleveland's lead to 20-10. Richardson finished with 72 yards on 20 carries.

Up-and-down day for Weeden: The rookie quarterback threw for a career-high 364 yards and hit Josh Gordon in stride for a 44-yard touchdown in the first quarter. But he was also picked off twice deep in Raiders territory (Oakland's 3- and 8-yard lines).

No longer perfect: Phil Dawson missed a 28-yard field goal attempt in the third quarter, when 6-foot-6 tackle Desmond Bryant deflected the kick. It ended Dawson’s franchise-record streak of 29 straight field goals.

What's next: The Browns head back home to play the Chiefs.