Week nine of the 2012 NFL Season is in the books and the AFC North remains tight at the top with the bottom half of the division falling too far behind. The Baltimore Ravens remain atop the division by one game over the Pittsburgh Steelers as both teams were victorious this week. All four AFC North teams were in action in week nine and three of the four teams will be in action in week ten, with the Cleveland Browns enjoying their bye week.
Of course we will begin with the division leading Baltimore Ravens as they traveled to Cleveland to take on the Browns in an AFC North battle. It lived up to the prototypical AFC North inter-divisional game, as it was a hard fought, hard nose football game that came down to the fourth quarter, with the Ravens scoring eleven unanswered fourth quarter points to come away with a 25-15 victory. Baltimore came out a ball on fire scoring 14 points on their first two drives and jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, but the Browns defense had a fire extinguisher handy and put out the fire that was the Ravens offense, forcing six straight three and outs, spanning from the second quarter to the first portion of the fourth quarter. During the Browns, or the Ravens offense slumber, defensive prowess the Cleveland offense was able to kick five field goals to take a 15-14 lead with eight plus minutes left in the fourth quarter. Then all of the sudden the Ravens offense awoke from its slumber and finally picked up a first down, then a few minutes later a 19 yard strike to Torrey Smith produced the go ahead touchdown, and would add a field goal later to complete the scoring for Baltimore. The win improved the Ravens to 6-2 on the season, and the loss dropped the Browns to 2-7.
Next, the Pittsburgh Steelers went on the road to take on a New York Giants team that was recovering from Hurricane Sandy, and playing for the millions of people affected by the Hurricane and many felt it was an unwinnable game for Pittsburgh, but we all know how pesky those Steelers are and they scored 14 fourth quarter points to grab a 24-20 victory. Pittsburgh jumped out to a 7-0 lead before seeing New York score 14 unanswered points to grab a 14-7 lead and at the end of the third quarter held a 20-10 advantage. Enter the fourth quarter, 14 Steelers points, and an impressive 24-20 victory for Pittsburgh to remain just one game back of the Ravens. Issac Redman ran for 147 yards with a touchdown and Ben Roethlisberger threw for 216 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
The Cincinnati Bengals, now losers of four straight games fell victim to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos at home after taking a 20-17 lead into the fourth quarter, only to see Manning lead his team on two fourth quarter touchdown drives coming away with a 31-23 victory. Everything looked to be going the Bengals way as Manning threw two third quarter interceptions allowing Cincinnati to take the lead, but as Manning has done his entire career, in fact 48 times, he led his team to a fourth quarter comeback for the win. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton threw for 299 yards with one touchdown and one costly fourth quarter interception, while TE Jermaine Gresham caught six balls for 106 yards. The loss dropped the Bengals to 3-5 on the season and three games behind the Ravens in the division.
Three AFC North teams will be in action in week ten:
- Baltimore Ravens (6-2) vs Oakland Raiders (3-5) 1pm EST
- Cincinnati Bengals (3-5) vs New York Giants (6-3) 1pm EST
- Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3) vs Kansas City Chiefs (1-7) MNF
It should be another exciting week of AFC North football and the Ravens will look to win another game that they are supposed to win, especially at home, before the HUGE game next week against the Steelers. Here is how the AFC North division standings look after week nine:
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