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AFC North: Jaguars Stun Ravens, Bengals Move to 1st-Place Tie

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The Pittsburgh Steelers have a Monday night meeting with the Indianapolis Colts, but the three other teams in the AFC North were all in action during the 1 p.m. time slot on Sunday. The Cincinnati Bengals improved to 7-4 with a 20-16 win over the Tennessee Titans, the Cleveland Browns eked out a 23-17 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in overtime, and the Baltimore Ravens got stunned by the Jacksonville Jaguars, 28-27. The Ravens and Bengals are tied for first place in the AFC North at 7-4, but Baltimore has the tiebreaker since they beat Cincinnati in Week 5. The Browns improved to 4-7, while the Steelers are in the basement of the division at 3-7.

The Bengals have won three in a row and they’ve done it without star wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, who’s been sidelined with a hip injury. Tee Higgins has stepped up significantly in Chase’s absence, as he recorded his second straight 100-yard receiving game by catching seven passes for 114 yards (16.3 average) and a touchdown in the win over Tennessee. Joe Burrow’s 27-yard touchdown pass to Higgins with 13:42 left in the fourth quarter ended up being the game-winner. The Titans responded with a 38-yard field goal by Caleb Shudak to cut the Bengals’ lead to 20-16 with 6:07 remaining. Tennessee never got the ball back, however, as defensive tackle Kevin Strong cost the Titans the game with a personal foul penalty on the Bengals’ field goal to go up 23-16 with 1:53 left. Strong hit Bengals long snapper Cal Adomitis after the snap, resulting in a 15-yard penalty and a first down. With the Titans having no timeouts, the Bengals took three knees and ran out the clock. The Bengals held All-Pro running back Derrick Henry to only 38 yards rushing on 17 carries (2.2 average).Henry did manage to have a 69-yard reception that resulted in a touchdown. Henry didn’t score, however, as he fumbled and Treylon Burks recovered the loose ball in the end zone.

Browns running back Nick Chubb powered his way for a 3-yard touchdown to take down the Buccaneers, 23-17, in overtime with 19 seconds remaining. Jacoby Brissett completed a 12-yard touchdown pass to David Njoku with 19 seconds remaining in regulation to force the game to overtime. Chubb has gone over 100 yards rushing in all four of the Browns’ wins this year. Against Tampa Bay, Chubb compiled 116 yards rushing on 26 carries (4.5 average) and a touchdown. The Browns’ defense also finally put together a solid game, as they gave up just 17 points to the Tom Brady-led Bucs. Cleveland came into Week 12 with the 30th-ranked defense in points allowed per game (26.9). Myles Garrett had a standout performance with three total tackles (one solo), 1.5 sacks, one tackle for loss, and three quarterback hits. Brissett had a mediocre game, completing 23 of 37 passes (62.2%) for 210 yards with one touchdown, one interception, and a quarterback rating of 75.3. Amari Cooper led Cleveland with seven receptions for 94 yards (13.4 average).

Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence found Marvin Jones for a 10-yard touchdown to cut the Ravens’ lead to 27-26 with 14 seconds remaining. Head coach Doug Peterson then decided to go for the win with the two-point conversion, which was successful, as Lawrence completed an out route to Zay Jones in the end zone. Justin Tucker attempted a 67-yard field goal for the win but it came up short. With being 3-7, the Jaguars really didn’t have anything to lose, so the risk was worth it. Peterson also might have felt that his defense wouldn’t have held up in overtime against Lamar Jackson, as he led the Ravens on an 8-play, 75-yard touchdown drive on the previous possession. Jackson also had an incredible 62-yard completion to DeSean Jackson on the drive. The Jaguars and Ravens combined for a whopping 33 points in the fourth quarter. Lawerence’s stellar performance was really the story of the game, as the second-year quarterback completed 29 of 37 passes (78.4%) for 321 yards with three touchdowns, zero interceptions, and an outstanding quarterback rating of 129.8. Jones led Jacksonville with 11 receptions for 145 yards (13.2 average).

Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson is scheduled to be fully reinstated on Monday after serving an 11-game suspension for violating the league’s personal-conduct policy. Watson is expected to start against his former team the Houston Texans next Sunday. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. and the game is at Houston, as well. The Ravens face the struggling Denver Broncos on the road at 1 p.m., while the Bengals host the Kansas City Chiefs at 4:25 p.m. The Steelers travel to Atlanta to face the Falcons in Week 13. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.

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