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Around the AFC North: Week 11

Posted Nov 19, 2013

BALTIMORE
The Ravens’ 23-20 overtime loss at Chicago included a weather delay of 1:53 due to rain, high winds and lightning. Baltimore had scored on its first two possessions for a 10-0 first-quarter lead but quickly lost the advantage once play resumed. It was the third delay for the Ravens in their last 11 games, after last season’s Super Bowl (blackout) and the 2013 regular-season opener at Denver (weather).

Coach John Harbaugh observed the Ravens “probably lead the league in delays.”

Running back Ray Rice was a bright spot against the Bears after rushing for a season-high 131 yards (including a 47-yard burst on his first carry) and scoring his first touchdown in five games.

Baltimore got zero sacks from the duo of Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil in Chicago, the first time this season their pair of outside pass rushers was shut out. Compounding the defensive issues was the absence of defensive lineman Haloti Ngata, inactive with a knee injury.

Baltimore fell to 2-4 in games decided by three points or fewer and to 4-6 overall. The Ravens begin a stretch of three consecutive home games this Sunday when they host the New York Jets.

CINCINNATI
The Bengals trailed, 13-0, before rallying to beat Cleveland, 41-20, and they heard the wrath of a few boo birds at Paul Brown Stadium after falling into that first-quarter hole.

Defensive end Michael Johnson didn’t appreciate that reaction.

“If you’re not believing and being positive, leave,” Johnson said. “We don’t need you. Because that’s what we’re all about here – staying focused, staying positive and keeping our energy going. Negativity breeds negativity, and we don’t do that around here.”

The Bengals erupted for 31 points in the second quarter, a franchise-record total for one quarter, after falling behind by 13. The comeback was ignited late in the first quarter by outside linebacker James Harrison’s first interception of the season. Harrison returned his interception for a touchdown, but the score was wiped out by a penalty.

Cincinnati improved to 5-0 at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals have scored more than 30 points in three of their five home games. The 7-4 Bengals have a bye this week and then resume play at San Diego.

CLEVELAND
The Browns collapsed in historic fashion after achieving that 13-0 lead against the Bengals. Cleveland coughed up a blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown and a fumble that was returned for a touchdown, the first time that had happened to a Browns team since Cleveland joined the NFL in 1950.

In addition to the blocked punt the Browns saw a deflected punt travel just 9 yards, setting up another Cincinnati score. An interception set up yet another Bengals touchdown.

All the miscues proved fatal and cost the Browns a game in which they had more first downs (15-10), more total net yards (330-224) and more passing yards (228-118) than the Bengals.

Cincinnati had three first downs at halftime yet went to the locker room with 31 points.

Cornerback Joe Haden was a bright spot against the Bengals by holding wide receiver A.J. Green to two catches for 7 yards and coming up with a pair of interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown.

The Browns (4-6) host the Steelers this Sunday.

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