Sunday, November 13, 2011

Back on Top

Let's see:  In the span of just one week, from about 8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13, the Steelers went from sitting atop the entire American Football Conference third place in the AFC North, behind Cincinnati and Baltimore ... back to first place in the AFC North, ahead of Baltimore and Cincinnati, in that order.

Thus, the Steelers' roller-coaster season continues apace. Now, the bye week gives the first-place Steelers (7-3; 1-2 in the division) the opportunity to kick back on their recliners and watch the matchup in Baltimore between the second-place Baltimore Ravens (6-3; 2-0 in the division) and third-place Cincinnati Bengals (6-3; 1-1 in the division).

Lawrence Timmons comes up with an interception vs. the Bengals.
For whom shall we root? Probably Cincinnati, since Baltimore beat us twice, we've beaten the Bengals, and we get to play the Bengals again at Heinz Field.

The Ravens somehow lost to Tarvaris Jackson and the Seattle Seahawks, a team the Steelers shut out in Week Two. Go figure. At one point late in yesterday's game with the Ravens, the Seahawks had as many penalties as first downs (12). The Ravens' defense couldn't stop the run when it counted. Ray Rice carried the ball just five times all afternoon. Joe Flacco threw the ball 52 times, misfiring on 23 of those attempts, including one interception. The Ravens' David Reed lost a couple of fumbles on kick returns. Seattle kicked five field goals, and Baltimore's Billy Cundiff missed two field goal attempts. For the second time this season, the Ravens followed up a win over the Steelers with a loss to a struggling team.

In Cincinnati, the Bengals took consolation yesterday from playing tough in their loss to the Steelers. They're acting like they won the game. They believe they've served notice they can play with the Big Boys. So far, though, all they've shown is they can talk the talk. They still have to prove they can walk the walk. They'll get their chance to do that in Baltimore on Sunday. And the Steelers can sit back and enjoy the show.

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