AFC North: 2012 Week 5 Wrap-ups

Wrap-up: Dolphins 17, Bengals 13

October, 7, 2012
Thoughts on the Cincinnati Bengals' 17-13 loss to the Miami Dolphins at Paul Brown Stadium:

What it means: The Bengals (3-2) slipped into second place and one game behind the Ravens in the AFC North because they failed to do what they've done since the start of the 2011 season: beat a team they were supposed to beat. Cincinnati jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first quarter and then watched the Dolphins (2-3) score 17 straight points. This ended a three-game win streak for Cincinnati. The Bengals fell to 1-7 at home against the Dolphins.

Offense crashes: This wasn't the same Bengals offense that averaged 33 points in three straight wins. Quarterback Andy Dalton was 26-of-43 for 234 yards with two interceptions. On the Bengals' final drive, Dalton's overthrown pass at midfield with 1:22 left was intercepted. Wide receiver A.J. Green caught nine passes for 65 yards and scored the team's only touchdown.

Concerns at running back: The Bengals made the NFL's top-ranked run defense look even better. After three fumbles in two games, Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis managed 14 yards on nine carries. Backup Bernard Scott led the Bengals with 40 yards on five carries. But Scott left the stadium on crutches. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, it is believed to be an ACL injury.

Third-down struggles continue: The Bengals were 2-of-14 on third downs against Miami and are now 4-of-25 in their past two weeks. In the second half, Dalton was 1-of-5 on third downs against the Dolphins and was sacked once.

No longer perfect: Cincinnati's Mike Nugent missed a 41-yard field goal attempt late in the fourth quarter that could have cut the Bengals' deficit to one point. He had been 9-for-9 on the season before that miss.

What's next: The Bengals play their fourth road game in six weeks when they take on the winless Cleveland Browns (0-5).

Wrap-up: Giants 41, Browns 27

October, 7, 2012
Thoughts on the Cleveland Browns' 41-27 loss at the New York Giants:

What it means: The Browns remain winless on the season, dropping to 0-5 for the first time since they returned to the NFL in 1999. If it matters at this point, they fall four games behind the division-leading Ravens. Cleveland extended its NFL-worst losing streak to 11 games, which ties a franchise record. The Browns have now dropped 10 in a row on the road.

Turning point: The Browns held a 14-0 lead -- their biggest margin on an opponent this year -- and still found a way to trail by halftime. How does that happen? The Browns turned the ball over twice in a matter of 2 1/2 minutes, which caused a 17-10 lead to turn into a 24-17 deficit. A Brandon Weeden interception and a Josh Cribbs fumble on a kickoff return led to two touchdowns.

Defense in pain: The Browns have more concerns than giving up 502 yards to the Giants. Three starters were injured for a defense that was already playing without two injured starters (Phil Taylor and Chris Gocong). Middle linebacker D'Qwell Jackson left in the second quarter with a concussion and cornerback Dimitri Patterson suffered an ankle injury on the second-half kickoff. Defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin also left the locker room in a walking boot.

Questioning the play call: With the Browns up 17-10, they faced a third-and-1 at the Giants' 25-yard line. Instead of running the ball, the Browns chose to pass and Weeden was intercepted. Rookie running back Trent Richardson, who finished with 81 yards rushing, had gained 4 and 5 yards on the previous two plays.

What happened to Gordon? Rookie receiver Josh Gordon helped the Browns to a 14-0 lead with a 62-yard touchdown catch from Weeden. But Gordon disappeared for most of the game after that big play. His only other catch was a 20-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

What's next: The Browns go home to play the Cincinnati Bengals (3-2) for the second time in a five-week span.

Wrap-up: Ravens 9, Chiefs 6

October, 7, 2012
Thoughts on the Baltimore Ravens' 9-6 win at the Kansas City Chiefs:

What it means: The Ravens improved to 4-1 and took sole possession of first place in the AFC North after the Bengals lost to Miami. Baltimore escaped with its first road win of the year because it was a little less sloppy than the Chiefs (1-4), who turned the ball over four times and struggled with quarterback Matt Cassel (9-of-15 for 92 yards, two interceptions). The Ravens are now 7-0 in games under coach John Harbaugh following either a Thursday game or a bye week.

Winning the hard way: The previous time the Ravens won without scoring a touchdown was five years ago to the day (Oct. 7, 2007), when they beat San Francisco 9-7. Baltimore's only scoring in Kansas City was three Justin Tucker field goals: 28, 26 and 39 yards.

Turning point: With the game tied at 3, the Chiefs didn't capitalize on an early second-half turnover and the Ravens did. Ravens rookie Deonte Thompson fumbled the opening kickoff, and Kansas City moved the ball to the 1-yard line. Cassel fumbled on a sneak and Ed Reed recovered. The Ravens converted that turnover into a field goal, a drive that was keyed by a 43-yard pass from Joe Flacco to Anquan Boldin.

Sweating it out: Cassel was knocked out of the game on a hit by Haloti Ngata. But that wasn't a good thing. Brady Quinn came into the game and threw what was believed to be the go-ahead touchdown to Dwayne Bowe. But Dexter McCluster was called for offensive pass interference. The Chiefs were penalized eight times.

Tightening up against the run: The Ravens' defense won't be happy with giving up 140 yards to Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles. But Baltimore, which has long prided itself in stopping the run, did bounce back in the second half. Charles was held to 30 yards after halftime.

Rice leads the way: With Flacco (13-of-27 for 187 yards and one interception) not on top of his game, the Ravens turned to running back Ray Rice. He gained 102 yards on 17 carries. The Ravens are 13-2 when Rice gains more than 100 yards rushing.

What's next: The Ravens return home to play the Dallas Cowboys (2-2), who are coming off a bye.