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AFC North Recap: Ravens and Browns Both Record Blowout Wins



AFC North Ravens

The AFC North continues to be one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL. With the Pittsburgh Steelers enjoying a mini-bye after defeating the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night, the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns both pulled off massive wins on Sunday during the 1 p.m. time slot. The Ravens routed the Seattle Seahawks, 37-3, at M&T Bank Stadium, while the Browns shutout the Arizona Cardinals, 27-0, at home.  The Ravens remain in first place in the AFC North at 7-2 and the Browns improved to 5-3. The Steelers (5-3) hold the tiebreaker over the Browns due to their Week 2 win against Cleveland. The Cincinnati Bengals (4-3) face the Buffalo Bills on Sunday Night Football at Paycor Stadium.

Ravens rookie running back Keaton Mitchell exploded for 138 yards and recorded his first NFL touchdown in Baltimore’s impressive blowout win over Seattle. Odell Beckham Jr. also scored his first touchdown as a Raven. It’s the second time in three weeks that the Ravens have destroyed an NFC opponent at home, as they defeated Detroit 38-6 in Week 7. Lamar Jackson, who threw for 187 yards and ran for 60, improved to 18-1 against NFC teams with the win over Seattle. The Ravens have certainly established themselves as one of the elite teams in the AFC, right up there with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Gus Edwards got things started for the Ravens with two rushing touchdowns in the second quarter. Mitchell then ripped off a 40-yard touchdown at the end of the third quarter in between three Justin Tucker field goals. OBJ concluded the Ravens’ scoring with a 6-yard touchdown reception from Tyler Huntley (Jackson sat in the fourth quarter).

The Ravens’ defense absolutely dominated, surrendering just six first downs and 151 yards of offense. Baltimore out-gained Seattle, 515-151. They also out-possessed the Seahawks, 40:04-19:56. Ravens strong safety Geno Stone recorded his sixth interception of the season. The Ravens had four sacks before halftime, improving their league-best sack number to 34.

The Browns’ defense had an even better performance than the Ravens, as they gave up just 58 yards of offense and shutout Arizona. It was Cleveland’s first shutout since 2007. The Browns’ top-ranked defense completely had their way with rookie quarterback Clayton Tune in his first career start. Defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson led Cleveland with 2.5. sacks.

Deshaun Watson completed 19 of 30 passes (63.3%) for 219 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions, and a quarterback rating of 107.5. It was an OK performance for Watson, who played in his first full game since Sept. 24, when he sustained a strained rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder. He definitely was rusty, however. Of his 219 yards passing, 139 went to wide receiver Amari Cooper. Cleveland’s defense set up both of Watson touchdown passes with turnovers.

Watson’s first touchdown pass went to Cooper for 11 yards at the 6:48 mark of the second quarter to improve Cleveland’s lead to 10-0. Watson then found tight end David Njoku for a 5-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to make it a 20-0 game. Running back Kareem Hunt finished things off with 3-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

The Steelers host the Green Bay Packers next Sunday, while the Browns square off agains the Ravens in Baltimore. The Bengals host the Houston Texans. All three games are at 1 p.m in the AFC North.