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AFC North Week in Review (Week 2)

September 15, 2008 by In the Trenches

AFC North Week in Review (Week 2)


Steelers - W 10-6 vs. Browns


This wasn't the prettiest win but the weather was tough and it was a road game against a division opponent.  A win of week one's ilk wasn't expected.


Offensively the Steelers churned out a tough 281 total yards despite the poor weather.  The run game managed a reasonable 3.8 yd/rush even with Cleveland playing rush first with a stout defensive front.  Despite the poor throwing conditions, Big Ben managed an efficient 12 of 19 for 186 yds and 1 TD (a 113.0 passer rating).  Fast Willie had another 100 yd game with 105 yds on 28 carries. Santonio led the way for the receiving corps with 94 yds on 5 receptions -- an outstanding night given the conditions.  Cleveland's depleted secondary was a definitive factor as they were unable to come up with a small handful of defensed passes that might otherwise have been made.


The defensive unit was opportunistic picking off Derek Anderson twice with one preventing a late first half FG.  The run defense was tremendous holding the Clowns to 53 rushing yards on 25 attempts.  On the other hand, while the pass defense was statistically sound, it was soft at times and Anderson had a number of balls dropped including more drops from the not-so-dependable Braylon Edwards. Edwards is working hard to solidify his reputation as aptly-talented and under-performing -- word on the streets is that his name is based on the word "bray" (noun, the loud, harsh cry of a donkey) which is very suitable for such a jackass!


The Pittsburgh return teams were scary at best but avoided a couple of near turnovers.  On a positive note, the opposing special teams were held in check for the second week in a row.  Cribbs' most notable play was getting blasted by James Harrison and having to stumble to the sidelines woozy.  Through two games, the coverage teams have been a pleasant surprise.



Willie Parker has accumulated 1450 yds on 347 carriers for a 4.2 yd/carry average in his last 16 games.  Those totals include the game in which he broke his leg where he had only 1 carry for -1 yard.



Bengals - L 24-7 vs. Titans


The Bengals looked spotty throughout the game.  The defense generated a fair amount of pressure on Collins early yet created only 1 sack.  The 35 year old Collins was able to find some rhythm as the game progressed and finished 14 of 21 for 128 yards with 1 TD (a very efficient 98.9 passer rating).  The run defense was again ineffective allowing even Twinkie-eating Lendell White to pound out some tough yards.  Tennessee finished with 177 rushing yards solidifying the Bungles run defense as soft and porous giving up over 165 rushing yd/game through 2 games.


Offensively, Cincy tried to establish the run with Chris Perry early but couldn't really find a groove.  With the wind blowing upwards of 30 mph, the Bungles had little chance to be effective through the air with Housh and Ocho Cinco.  Most importantly, when the pressure was on in the second half, Palmer folded and threw two interceptions.  If the defense isn't going to play consistently, and they won't, the offense needs to carry the team.  Unfortunately for Cincy, the offense has been worse than the defense.


Telling the Tale:

For the second week in a row, Cincy started the second half with the game in reach but couldn't stop the big play.  This week, with the score 17-7 to start the fourth quarter, they gave up a punt block for a TD to seal their fate.  That totals 3 big play TD's in two weeks -- that's more points than their total point production for the year.


With a game next week against at the NY Giants, you can pencil in an 0-3 start to cement their position at the bottom of the division.


Funny Note:

The highlight of the game was a close up of a Bungles fan yelling "YOU ARE EMBARASSING," repeatedly at his beloved �Jr. College� football team.





Due to Hurricane Ike, the game had to be rescheduled for November 9th.



Division Power Rankings


1. Pittsburgh (next week will be a big test)

2. Cleveland (not living up to the preseason hype)

3. Baltimore (remains put until they can prove they have any offense)

4. Cincinnati (and I thought it couldn't get worse)


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