Week 12 of the 2012 NFL Season is in the books and the Baltimore Ravens now have a stranglehold on the AFC North with a three game lead and just five games remaining in the regular season. All four AFC North teams were in action in week 12 and all four will be in week 13 as well.
We have to start with the 4th and 29 as the Ravens converted a 4th and 29 late in the fourth quarter when Ray Rice caught a pass just one yard past the line of scrimmage and scampered 30 yards to pick up the first down and keep the drive going that setup the game tying field goal to send it to overtime, where kicker Justin Tucker also won the game for Baltimore 16-13. After only mustering 90 total yards and zero points in the first half, the Ravens offense found their groove, finishing the game with 443 total yards of offense. Joe Flacco had a great second half/OT and finished with 355 passing yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. Rice, in addition to his great 4th and 29 conversion, had a very nice day overall with 97 rushing yards and 67 receiving yards. Torrey Smith had a monster day reeling in seven grabs for 144 yards. The Ravens improved to 9-2 with the win and have now won four straight.
Perhaps the upset of the day, although the Pittsburgh Steelers had Charlie Batch starting at quarterback, came via the Cleveland Browns forcing eight Steelers turnovers in rout to a 20-14 victory. All four Pittsburgh running backs had a lost fumble in the game and Batch threw three interceptions. Despite eight turnovers, the Steelers were in the game, but Cleveland was able to hold on. Browns rookie running back Trent Richardson had another nice game rushing for 85 yards and a touchdown, but rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden did suffer a concussion in the game. The loss dropped the Steelers to 6-5 on the season and if they lose this week against the Ravens, Pittsburgh will be eliminated from the AFC North division race. Cleveland improved to 3-8 with the victory.
The suddenly resurgent Cincinnati Bengals hosted the horrid Oakland Raiders and handled them easily with a 34-10 victory to improve to 6-5 and are now winners of three straight. The entire Bengals offense had a good day including quarterback Andy Dalton who threw for 210 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Running back Benjarvis Green-Ellis rushed for 129 yards and a touchdown, while WR AJ Green continued his stellar season reeling in three catches for 111 yards, but did not have a touchdown for the first time in nine weeks.
All four AFC North teams will be in action in week 13:
- Baltimore Ravens (9-2) vs Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5) Sunday 4:25 EST
- Cincinnati Bengals (6-5) at San Diego Chargers (4-7) Sunday 4:25 EST
- Cleveland Browns (3-8) at Oakland Raiders (3-8) Sunday 4:25 EST
It should be another exciting week of AFC North football and the Ravens have a chance to clinch the division this week with a win against Pittsburgh and a Cincinnati loss. The big question is whether or not Steelers quarterback Ben Roesthlisberger will be playing Sunday. Both Pittsburgh and Cincinnati currently hold the six seed in the AFC playoff race trailing the Indianapolis Colts by one game.
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