Week 13 of the 2012 NFL season is in the books and the AFC North got a little tighter as both the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers gained a game in the standings over the Baltimore Ravens with Pittsburgh's 23-20 victory over Baltimore. All four teams will be in action in week 14 against non-divisional opponents.
Of course we will start with the hated rivalry of the Steelers vs the Ravens as they battled for the second time in three weeks. Baltimore won round one in Pittsburgh in week 11 13-10, but round two saw several streaks come to an end for Baltimore. The Steelers came into Charm City and delivered a punch in the mouth beating the Ravens on a walk off field goal as time expired in the fourth quarter for a 23-20 victory, ending Baltimore's 15 game home winning streak, 12 game AFC North winning streak, and four game overall winning streak. Third string quarterback Charlie Batch, in what was likely his last career start, torched the Ravens for 276 yards with one touchdown, while TE Heath Miller reeled in five catches for 95 yards and a touchdown. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco had his worst home performance in recent memory completing just 16 of 34 pass attempts for 188 yards with one touchdown, one interception, and one fumble lost. The loss dropped the Ravens to 9-3 and came with a chance to clinch a playoff spot, while the Steelers improve to 7-5 and now trails Baltimore by two games in the AFC North with four games remaining.
The surging Cincinnati Bengals remained hot as they won their fourth game in a row beating the San Diego Chargers 20-13 in sunny southern California. The Bengals trailed 13-10 at half time, but Cincinnati's defense held San Diego scoreless in the second half and the offense scored 10 fourth quarter points to pull out the victory. Quarterback Andy Dalton struggled a bit as he completed 25 of 39 pass attempts for 211 yards for one touchdown and two interceptions. Running back Benjarvis Green-Ellis ran for 118 yards on 25 carries and it was his second straight 100 yard rushing performance, while wide receiver AJ Green reeled in nine grabs for 85 yards. The victory also pulls Cincinnati within two games of the Ravens in the AFC North at 7-5.
Don't look now, but the last place Cleveland Browns have won four of their last seven games after starting the season 0-5 and they pulled off their first road victory since the second game of the 2011 season in beating the Oakland Raiders 20-17. Cleveland never trailed in the game and rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden threw for a career high 364 yards with a touchdown, while rookie running back Trent Richardson carried the ball for 20 times for 72 yards and one touchdown. The Browns surging wide receiver Josh Gordon reeled in six catches for 116 yards and a touchdown, who has really come on in the second half of the season. The win improves the Browns record to 4-8 on the season.
All four teams will be in action in week 14:
- Baltimore Ravens (9-3) at Washington Redskins (6-6) Sunday at 1pm
- Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5) vs San Diego Chargers (4-8) Sunday at 1pm
- Dallas Cowboys (6-6) at Cincinnati Bengals (7-5) Sunday at 1pm
- Cleveland Browns (4-8) vs Kansas City Chiefs (2-10) Sunday at 1pm
It should be another exciting week of AFC North football and the Ravens will look to rebound this Sunday as they travel to their Battle of the Beltway rival Redskins, where the Baltimore defense will have to try and contain rookie sensation Robert Griffin III. Baltimore has a brutal schedule their last four games with every team having a .500 record or better. Pittsburgh and Cincinnati share the six seed in the AFC playoff race trailing the fifth seeded Indianapolis Colts by one game.
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