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: W 31-17 vs. Cleveland Browns
It was an offensive explosion from the Bengals on Sunday. Several big plays were able to do the trick against a putrid Browns defense. Andy Dalton connected with A.J. Green on two big throws, including an end-of-half Hail Mary, allowing Green to finish with eight catches, 169 yards and one TD. Green has been very boom or bust this season. He has only scored a TD in games in which he has over 150 receiving yards.
Jeremy Hill bounced back from a few disappointing weeks to finish with 168 yards on nine carries, including a 74 yard rumble for a score. Gio Bernard added 80 rushing yards and a TD as well.
Keep in mind, this is against the Browns, but it was a much needed confidence booster for this offense.
The defense of the Bengals has been probably the most disappointing unit on the team. They’ve been picked apart by Trevor Siemian and Dak Prescott. Cody Kessler was looking to do the same entering the week. Kessler started strong, but an injury forced him out of the game. He left 9/11 for 82 yards.
Enter Kevin Hogan, the rookie from Stanford, and the Bengals began to lick their chops. They did take advantage picking him off twice (Shawn Williams and Vincent Rey), but they were unable to contain his running abilities. The Bengals allowed Hogan to run for 104 yards and a score on seven carries.
Overall, the Bengals defense was much tighter, but once again take into account the opponent.
A.J. Green – 8 catches, 169 yards, 1 TD. Green showed exactly how good he can be.
Look forward to Week 8:
The Bengals will be the “home” team, but will travel to London for Sunday morning, 9:30am start time.
Result: L 16-27 vs. New England Patriots
A few weeks ago, this was seen as a massive matchup between two of the top AFC teams, but without Ben Roethlisberger the excitement drained away. The Steelers offense went down the drain too.
There were flashes and overall Landry Jones was adequate for a backup QB. He finished 29/47, 281 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT and most importantly he was able to get Antonio Brown involved (7 catches for 106 yards).
Le’Veon Bell got 21 carries a week after only getting 10 against the Dolphins. He finished with 81 yards and added 68 yards on 10 catches. However, the Steelers were unable to sustain drives against a strong Patriots defense, and managed only 16 points.
Ryan Shazier summed up the Steelers defensive performance by calling the run defense “garbage.” They had no answer for LaGarrette Blount, who gained 127 yards and two TD on 24 carries. The lack of a pass rush was evident as well. The Steelers registered no sacks and only hit Tom Brady three times on the day.
Overall, the pass defense wasn’t too bad. They couldn’t keep Rob Gronkowski in check, but they did force quiet games from Julian Edleman, Chris Hogan and Martellus Bennett. Not a bad feat for a secondary that has been questioned all season. They are beginning to show some reliability.
If the Steelers don’t fix their run defense they’ll be in for a long season. It seemed every time Blount got across the LOS he was going for 7+ yards.
Le’Veon Bell – 21 carries, 81 yards, 10 catches, 68 yards. Bell was the go-to for the offense and rightfully so.
Look forward to Week 8:
The Steelers will enjoy a bye week where Roethlisberger will look to rest up for the Week 9 clash with your Baltimore Ravens.
Result: L 17-31
If Cody Kessler stays in the game the results could have been different. He looked excellent against the Bengals, but unfortunately was forced out. Kevin Hogan had an up and down performance. On one hand he only completed half of his throws for 100 yards and threw two picks, but on the other hand he gained 104 yards and a TD on the ground.
The offense simply didn’t look as good as when Hogan was in, showing none of the rhythm they were able to establish with Kessler. Isiah Crowell was solid in his little usage, as he rumbled for 63 yards and a TD on 12 carries. Terrelle Pryor also suffered from the departure of Kessler. He had a quiet week with only two catches.
The Browns will be hoping that Kessler can return ASAP.
The Browns defense continues to look just terrible. They’ve now allowed at least 25+ points in all seven games this year and there looks to be very little to look forward to.
One encouraging sign was the performance turned in from 2nd round pick Emmanuel Ogbah. He had two sacks and six total tackles. Ogbah was a great pass rusher at Oklahoma State and it is encouraging for a Browns fan to see him start to show that at the NFL level. He now has three sacks and 23 tackles through seven weeks.
Emmanuel Ogbah – 6 tackles, 2 sacks. Many Ravens fans were high on Ogbah before the draft, and we’re starting to see why as he looks better each week in this defense.
Look forward to Week 8:
The Browns host the New York Jets on Sunday, where they continue the quest for that elusive first win of the season.