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Around the AFC North: Week 9


BALTIMORE (5-4)**: The rematch in Pittsburgh wasn't what the Ravens envisioned, especially as it pertained to the four sacks and 10 quarterback hits Baltimore absorbed in a 43-23 loss to the Steelers.

"They were blitzing us," Coach John Harbaugh explained. "Sometimes we had them beat one-on-one. Other times we may have gotten the hot throw out, and we didn't get it out. They did a great job of rushing the passer. I thought No. 92 (linebacker James Harrison) looked really good. I thought No. 93 (linebacker Jason Worilds) looked good. We just have to do a better job with our pass protection.

"We have to do a better job of making them pay when they blitz us. That's something you just have to do. They come after you and you have to get the ball in someone's hands. You have to make them pay to take them out of it. We didn't do enough to discourage that at all really at any point in time during the game."

QB Joe Flacco had been sacked nine times in the Ravens' first eight games. It's now 13 sacks in nine games.

Among the Ravens' 10 penalties for 108 yards in the Steelers game was a 15-yard personal foul/unnecessary roughness call on LB Terrell Suggs for a late hit from behind on RB LeGarrette Blount. "I think it was a traditional Ravens-Steelers game," Suggs said. "Sometimes you just play football and sometimes things happen when you play a physical sport. So, whatever." … LB Daryl Smith on bouncing back from back-to-back losses at Cincinnati and at Pittsburgh: "We don't have any choice. We aren't going to lay down. It hurts right now. It is what it is. We lost to a good team (Sunday night).


CINCINNATI (5-2-1)**: Rookie RB Jeremy Hill picked the Bengals up in a 33-23 win over Jacksonville by contributing 154 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 24 carries. Hill had 50 carries for 195 yards prior to filling in for injured RB Giovani Bernard against the Jaguars.

"We challenged him," QB Andy Dalton said. "We knew he would see a lot of carries with Giovani Bernard being out, so I thought he came in and answered the call and played well. That's why we picked him (on the second round). It was great to see."

WR A.J. Green had three catches for 44 yards and a touchdown in his first game back after a three-game absence, a tune-up for Cincinnati's upcoming showdown against Cleveland on Thursday night. "I'm ready," Green declared … LB Vontaze Burfict, LB Rey Maualuga and OG Kevin Zeitler joined Bernard among the Bengals' injured inactives against Jacksonville.


Fan submitted photos from Halloween.

CLEVELAND (5-3)**: The Browns needed a fourth-quarter touchdown to beat the Buccaneers, 22-17. But it's not about how, it's about how many this season when it comes to assessing and interpreting victories in Cleveland.

The Browns have five of those through eight games for the first time since 2007, which adds meaning as well as intrigue to Thursday night's visit to Cincinnati.

"We're actually playing for the division race," offensive tackle Joe Thomas noted.

Added FS Tashaun Gipson, "They definitely know about the Cleveland Browns (around the league). "We're a team that plays like a team."

Gipson recorded his sixth interception of the season in the Tampa Bay game. He has four interceptions in his last three games and nine in his last 11 dating back to last season … Minus TE Jordan Cameron (injured), C Alex Mack (injured) and WR Josh Gordon (suspended) and supported by a rushing attack that averaged 1.8 yards on 28 attempts, QB Brian Hoyer still threw for 300 yards (21-for-34, 300, two touchdowns, two interceptions). Hoyer improved to 8-3 as the Browns' starting quarterback.

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