They say keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
Behind Enemy Lines brings you your weekly recap of the rest of the AFC North, as the Ravens strive to be back on top of the division.
Result: L 17-35 @ New England Patriots
The woes in the Bengals run game continue, as they were able to generate only 120 yards on 32 team carries. Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard were held to rushing averages of 2.9 and 3.3, respectively. Bernard still factored into the passing game with four catches for 45 yards, but Hill’s lackluster play is becoming a concern for the Bengals and led to Bernard out-carrying Hill for the first time this season.
Andy Dalton continued to protect the ball against the opposition. He has only thrown two interceptions on the season. However, the Bengals were unable to put together sustained drives that led to points against a tough Patriots defense. Luckily for the Bengals, they will see the Cleveland Browns at home on Sunday.
The Bengals were once thought to have a top-five defense in the league, but they continue to get brutalized by the NFL’s top offenses. After two rookies beat them up last week, it was the veterans of the New England offense that did damage this week.
Tom Brady dominated the secondary all game, going 29/35 for 376 yards and three touchdowns. The Bengals had no answer for Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett as they combined for 12 catches and 210 receiving yards.
One positive for the Bengals was their ability to corral LeGarrette Blount’s power run game. He was held to only 50 yards (and a score) on 13 carries.
Andy Dalton – 21/31, 254 yards, 1 TD. Dalton took care of the football and was effective, but it wasn’t enough to beat the mighty Pats.
Look forward to Week 7:
The Bengals host the Cleveland Browns, which the Bengals hope will be a comeback game to build some momentum. The Bengals have now dropped two in a row and four of their last five.
Result: L 15-30 @ Miami Dolphins
In a game that was plagued by rainy conditions, it was awfully surprising to see Ben Roethlisberger throw the ball 34 times, while the Steelers only went to the run game on 16 plays. Roethlisberger was wildly ineffective in the passing game, finishing 19/34 for 189 yards, one TD and two INT. Antonio Brown only had four catches and the lone score was to the relatively unknown Cobi Hamilton.
Bell was effective in the run game gaining 53 on the limited 10 snaps. You have to wonder if they established the run game more there would have been more offensive rhythm (sounds like Marc Trestman called the game for the Steelers…we can only hope).
A big note moving forward: Roethlisberger underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. He will not play in Week 7 in a HUGE AFC matchup with the Patriots. Landry Jones will likely start at QB for the Steelers.
On the flip side, the Miami Dolphins dominated the Steelers in the run game. The Dolphins ran 36 times (compared to 32 pass plays) for 222 yards and three touchdowns. Jay Ajayi did most of the damage finishing with 204 yards on 22 carries and two scores.
Ryan Tannehill was able to gain 252 yards through the air and completed 24/32 passes. It was a forgettable day for the Steelers defense, who were a favorite in fantasy football formats given the perceived favorable matchup. The Steelers defense has been solid overall, but after giving up big games to the Dolphins and Eagles, you have to wonder about their consistency.
Tyler Matakevich – 9 tackles – I chose to highlight the rookie LB, as many Ravens fans were high on him during the draft process. He was taken in the 7th round, but looks to be working into a role on the Steelers defense.
Look forward to Week 7:
The Steelers host the flaming hot New England Patriots. Without Big Ben this is going to be a tough matchup, as the Pats offense has been working teams with Brady back and the Steelers defense will likely provide little resistance to New England.
Result: L 26-28 @ Tennessee Titans
Cody Kessler was highlighted last week for his play before getting hurt in the first half. He came out the gates with another strong performance against a strong Titans passing defense, finishing with 336 yards and two scores.
Terrelle Pryor is quickly becoming his favorite target, as he scored two times on nine catches and 75 yards. It is interesting to see the Browns putting together an offensive identity, not something they’re known for. This will be something to watch moving forward.
The Browns were unable to contain second-year man Marcus Mariota. Mariota finished with 284 yards, three touchdowns to just one pick, and gained 64 yards on the ground. DeMarco Murray also gained 65 yards and a score.
The Browns did a better job against the run, but weren’t able to hold up in the passing game. Kendall Wright re-emerged as a favorite target of Mariota’s. Wright recently returned from a hamstring injury and looks to become the deep threat that Mariota needs.
One noticeable weakness was the lack of a pass rush for the Browns. They were able to sack Mariota twice, but other than that only hit him one other time. Mariota certainly has speed, so they may have been trying to contain him, but that clearly did not work either. It was another Browns-like performance for Cleveland.
Cody Kessler – 26/41, 336 yards, 2 TD – he is quickly becoming a very nice piece for a Cleveland offense that has struggled for so long. The question, as always, can he continue these performances?
Look forward to Week 7:
The Browns head to Cincinnati for a date with the Bengals. With the Bengals slumping, it may be an opportunity for the Browns to put one over on a division rival…unless they decide to be their typical Browns selves.