AFC North: rapid reaction 9

Rapid Reaction: Steelers 23, Redskins 6

November, 3, 2008

Posted by's James Walker

LANDOVER, Md. -- The Pittsburgh Steelers made a huge statement Monday night.

But the cost of their statement is yet to be determined.

Pittsburgh proved it can play --and beat -- a very good NFC East team, pounding the Washington Redskins 23-6 before a national television audience on "Monday Night Football" and 90,512 fans at FedEx Field. But most Steelers fans are nervously awaiting the injury status of starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who didn't return for the second half with a right shoulder injury.

Roethlisberger barely moved his throwing shoulder the entire second half while supporting his teammates from the sideline. Steelers backup quarterback Byron Leftwich (129 passing yards, one touchdown) filled in and kept the offense moving in the second half.

Despite the injury concern, Pittsburgh's win was very significant and lifts the team to 6-2. The Steelers maintained a full game lead over the Baltimore Ravens (5-3), as they continue a tough stretch that includes home games against the Indianapolis Colts and San Diego Chargers in back-to-back weeks.

That two-game stretch becomes a lot tougher if Roethlisberger is forced to miss time. Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin is expected to address the injury status of his franchise quarterback in a matter of moments, so stay tuned.

Rapid Reaction: Ravens 37, Browns 27

November, 2, 2008

Posted by's James Walker

CLEVELAND -- Both teams needed this game, but in the end the Baltimore Ravens wanted it more.

In a game that had a plethora of lead and momentum changes, the Ravens took control on the road by scoring 24 unanswered points in the second half to take a 37-27 victory.

The win puts the Baltimore Ravens (5-3) in the thick of the playoff hunt in the AFC, while the Browns' season likely is over.

Browns quarterback Derek Anderson's interception to Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs on a screen pass that was returned for a touchdown sealed the game. It could signal changes as Cleveland has little chance of making the postseason.

The crowd chanted "Brady! Brady!" during the final minutes of the game, showing their desire to see former first-round pick Brady Quinn. With a game Thursday night at home against the Denver Broncos, Browns coach Romeo Crennel may not want to make the change on a short week. But after that game, especially if Cleveland loses again, all things are possible.

Baltimore's win also puts some pressure on the division-rival Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2), who play the Washington Redskins (6-2) in a big game on "Monday Night Football."

Rapid Reaction: Bengals 21, Jaguars 19

November, 2, 2008

Posted by's James Walker

Rejoice, Cincinnati Bengals fans!

Your favorite football team will not go winless this season.

Despite nearly blowing the game in the second half, the Bengals (1-8) held on to get their donut off the board in the standings with a 21-19 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Cincinnati allowed 16 fourth-quarter points but stuffed a two-point conversion that would have tied the game.

Few people saw this coming. The Bengals were blown out by 28 and 29 points the past two weeks but outplayed the reeling Jaguars, who fell to 3-5 and 0-3 against the AFC North.

This first victory for the Bengals comes at a good time. They now have a bye week, which gives them extra time to prepare for their Nov. 16 game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Could two wins in a row be upcoming for the Bengals? At the very least, Cincinnati doesn't have the same pressure that comes with being winless for the rest of the season.