Cumbleton’s Conclusions – AFC North Week Five

Cumbleton’s Conclusions – AFC North Week Five
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Cincinnati Bengals 27, Miami Dolphins 17

For the first half of this game the Dolphins were in control. Unable to get anything going offensively against a young Miami defence the Bengals struggled into half time lucky to be down only 14-0. Bengals fans were left worrying whether the team was a good as advertised. Then the Bengals woke up.

Andy Dalton started to pick apart the Secondary and finished the day completing 20 of 30 passes. AJ Green had his first 100-yard game of the season, Six receptions for 112 yards. Against the Dolphins, Green consistently found space and finished the day with his 32nd career 100+ yard game. Green looked dominant and was responsible for several key third down conversions as he worked his way past Bengals’ great Chad Johnson for most in 100-yard games in franchise history.

In the first half of the game Joe Mixon, who had knee surgery three weeks ago, struggled to find space and the Bengals looked like they were missing Giovanni Bernard. In the second half Mixon started to find his form and finished the day with 93 yards on the ground. He also chipped in with 22 yards receiving and an impressive touchdown catch. Mixon can be such a dynamic weapon for Dalton and the Bengals so his rapid return to health is a huge boost for the team moving forward.

The Cincinnati defense played some impressive football after two disappointing performances. They got the better of the Dolphins’ line and hassled Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill tirelessly. The Bengals scored twice to complete an impressive comeback. Recently resigned defensive lineman, Michael Johnson, scored first career interception return for a touchdown. Not to be outdone, rookie defensive end Sam Hubbard recovered a Tannehill fumble which he also returned for a touchdown. The defense was a huge part of this phenomenal turnaround, refusing to let the Dolphins didn’t score after 12:35 in the third quarter. This was a good week to have the Bengals defence on your fantasy team!

Cleveland Browns 12, Baltimore Ravens 9 (OT)

Once again, one of my favourite first round picks repaid the Browns for picking him fourth overall. Denzel Ward has been such an impressive performer as rookie. Against the revamped Ravens receiving corps, he showed up repeatedly in coverage and recorded his third interception of the year. On special teams he blocked a Justin Tucker field goal that kept points of the board for the Ravens.

The Ravens defence continued to impress with 27 quarterback pressures. Not only did limit the impact of Baker Mayfield in the passing game (25 of 43 for 342 yards, one touchdown and one interception) and when scrambling they also largely contained a Browns running game that was so impressive just one week previous.  They held the Browns running backs to just 100 yards collectively. Carlos Hyde (63 yards), Duke Johnson (35 yards) did at least produce but Nick Chubb (2 yards) was entirely disappointing and overshadowed even by Mayfield (2 rushes, 23 yards).

Speaking of struggling running games, the Ravens really missed Alex Collins after he left the game injured. Whilst Collins has been distinctly average this year (he’s averaged just 43.4 yards a game), against Cleveland he was effective. His absence left the Ravens one dimensional and this was compounded by poor play from Michael Crabtree, who dropped multiple passes in another sub-par performance. Crabtree has failed to live up to the hype surrounding his signing this off season. His three drops in Week 5 give him a drop percentage of 17.39, even worse than Breshad Perriman.

The final word in this one has to go to the Brown South African kicker, Greg Joseph. Joseph showed impressive resolve to rebound from early field and extra point failures. Despite a terrible kick, which I initially though was blocked, the ball sailed through the uprights to give Cleveland their second win of the season. It was Cleveland’s third overtime match this year and we’re only 5 weeks into the season!

Pittsburgh Steelers 41, Atlanta Falcons 17

James Conner was the story in a one-sided affair against Atlanta. The Steelers set the tone early, giving Conner the ball on seven of the first eight snaps of the game. Conner is making the Steelers forget about holdout Le’Veon Bell, who may still be traded. Conner looked a force running the ball and contributed in the passing game. He finished the day with 110 and 2 touchdowns on the ground. He also continued to show improvement as a receiver, grabbing 4 receptions for 75 yards. Showing that he is a complete back really helps Conner’s case to be utilised often, even when/if Bell returns. If I’m the Steelers I’m seriously considering offer on Bell.

Matt Ryan was constantly pressured in this one Pittsburgh’s defense sacked Matt Ryan six times (including four in the first half). Pressure came from all over the field with blitzes coming from multiple positions and look. This was exemplified in their sack fumble touchdown. T.J. Watt was a huge part of this, sacking Ryan 3 times

Joe Haden deserves a large portion of the credit for this win. Although his stat line wasn’t particularly noteworthy (5 tackles) anyone who watched the game came away impressed. Haden spent the whole game matched up on one of the top weapons in the NFL. The results speak for themselves. Jones finished the games with just 62 yards on 5 receptions. Not bad for a guy the Cleveland Browns let go!

In a week that saw Drew Brees become the all time leading passer Mike Tomlin and Big Ben set a record of their own. They now have the most wins by a Steelers Head Coach and Quarterback in team history with 108 regular-season wins together – the win broke a tie with Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw. It’s also the third-most by a Head Coach and Quarterback tandem in NFL history.

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