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Ravens win AFC North, Bengals back into playoffs

Cincinnati Bengals tight end Jermain Gresham is tackled by Baltimore Ravens' Jarret Johnson (during the first half of play in their NFL football game in Cincinnati Reuters

The Baltimore Ravens won today in Cincinnati and clinched the AFC North and a playoff bye, but it wasn’t all bad news for the Bengals: Losses by other teams allowed them to back into the sixth and final AFC playoff spot.

That means the Bengals will travel to Houston and play the Texans in the first round of the playoffs next week. The Ravens will be off next week and then play a home playoff game in two weeks.

Ray Rice stole the show for the Ravens, running 24 times for 191 yards, scoring on a 70-yard touchdown in the first quarter and a 51-yard run in the fourth quarter. Joe Flacco had a quiet but effective day passing, completing 15 of 19 passes for 130 yards, with a touchdown and no interceptions.

The Bengals didn’t look much like a playoff team today, but they’ll have a chance in Houston: In the battle of rookie quarterbacks, Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton gets the edge over Houston’s T.J. Yates.

The Ravens, however, absolutely look like not just a playoff team but a team that can contend for a title. The Ravens will be a tough out in the playoffs.

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72 Responses to “Ravens win AFC North, Bengals back into playoffs”
  1. YouMadCauseImStylingOnYou says: Jan 1, 2012 7:23 PM

    Ray Rice owes Vonte Leach a new car for the holes he was opening up today.

    Monster.

  2. scamnewton says: Jan 1, 2012 7:23 PM

    One thing is certain, the Ratbirds have no place complaining about the NFL officials after that game.

  3. whatswiththehate says: Jan 1, 2012 7:23 PM

    The Texans need to win or else they play-off spot is starting to look like a fluke.

  4. ballsooharduniversity says: Jan 1, 2012 7:24 PM

    ballsoharduniversity

  5. bonniebengal says: Jan 1, 2012 7:24 PM

    I’m proud of the young Bengal team. They have a long way to go but everyone thought they’d finish dead last, and they ended up 9 – 7 with a spot in the playoffs. With two first round draft picks next year, they are going to get even better. Plus we’ll get Hall and Shipley back.

  6. sterilizecromartie says: Jan 1, 2012 7:24 PM

    AFC looks so weak right now compared to the NFC. Pitt, Balt, and NE are the only teams that really look like they deserve to make the playoffs in the AFC. The other 3 entrants are on a combined 7 game losing streak.

  7. djigel says: Jan 1, 2012 7:24 PM

    “The Bengals didn’t look much like a playoff team today”

    Hmmm…. they didn’t look like the Colts…. they didn’t look great, but with the exception of 2 big plays, the defense played alright…. the offense moved the ball….they had some costly penalties that may or may not have been the best of calls….

    The Ravens looked real good for about half the game, but didn’t look great the other half when they couldn’t move the ball well. There only substantial drive was aided by 4 penalties….but they were the better team.

    I think the Bengals can beat the Texans. Not sure about anything after that but for a young team that everyone expected to be 2-14, they have done quite well for themselves.

  8. raiders757 says: Jan 1, 2012 7:25 PM

    Bengals back in and the Donks do as well. What a pathetic playoff picture. The NFL is becoming the new WWE. Thank God for the NHL! A real sport for real sports fans.

  9. ravenator says: Jan 1, 2012 7:25 PM

    Where is the steelersownyou kid, he’s no where to be found, typical.

  10. newenglandsports11 says: Jan 1, 2012 7:26 PM

    Jake Delhomme/TJ Yates vs Andy Dalton. Should be in for a good game.

  11. hotdog113 says: Jan 1, 2012 7:26 PM

    Just wondering…on the play the Bengal ran into the kicker, it was a non foul because he touched the ball…doesn’t that make the ball live and recoverable by the Ravens?

  12. acerockefellar says: Jan 1, 2012 7:26 PM

    The refs AGAIN had so many wrong calls against the bengals.

    Glad to be in, but would have preferred to go in winning.

  13. vec18 says: Jan 1, 2012 7:27 PM

    So the Bengals lose a close game and don’t look like a playoff team but Baltimore edges them out and now they look like Gang busters?

  14. ravenator says: Jan 1, 2012 7:27 PM

    Steelers dominated, check.

    Bengals dominated, check.

    Bronws dominated, check.

    Your AFCN champion, Baltimore Ravens. Soak it in folks.

  15. mrcincinnati says: Jan 1, 2012 7:28 PM

    Anyone watching that game has to admit that the refs absolutely called nothing against the ravens and there were a lot of questionable calls against the bengals..not to mention pass interference in the endzone that they didnt call with a referee standing right there..i would be a lot madder if we didnt make it to the playoffs but we did…WHO DEY!!!!!!

  16. vincentbojackson says: Jan 1, 2012 7:28 PM

    Wow, that obvious no call at the end of the game decided the division and the playoff seedings. Never seen a guy get mugged ten feet from an official who decides to ignore it.

  17. americankris says: Jan 1, 2012 7:28 PM

    Good job Marvin Lewis

  18. thetruuf says: Jan 1, 2012 7:29 PM

    Im a Ravens fan and again the Ravens looked terrible in the second half. Zero offense besides Rice’s 50 yard run. Almost zero pass rush; Ray Lewis is below average. Im not confident.

  19. dawhorsefeathers says: Jan 1, 2012 7:29 PM

    Looks like 3/4 of the AFCN will be playing in the divisional round.

  20. bleedpurplenblack says: Jan 1, 2012 7:29 PM

    Go ahead and put us in the AFC Title game. Use a permanent pen, too.

  21. sportssportssportssports says: Jan 1, 2012 7:29 PM

    I for one cannot WAIT to see Tebow up against the Steelers D

  22. somesome says: Jan 1, 2012 7:29 PM

    sweep …

  23. dickroy says: Jan 1, 2012 7:30 PM

    Backing in is the only way the Bengals will get in the playoffs. One and out!

  24. 561bengal says: Jan 1, 2012 7:31 PM

    Considering I expected the Bengals to win 6 games at best this season, im happy backing into the playoffs.

  25. myopicofficial says: Jan 1, 2012 7:36 PM

    Worst officiated game I’ve seen. The officials had it in for the Bengals all game, capped off by the no-call on the PI in the end zone at the end that may have sent the game to OT.

  26. sahfriendly says: Jan 1, 2012 7:37 PM

    the Bengals didn’t look a playoff team and the ravens looked like a serious contender?

    funny how those statements contradict one another considering the Bengals were in it the entire game, and could have tied it at the very end against a serious contending 2nd seed.

  27. somesome says: Jan 1, 2012 7:39 PM

    Bengals are now 1-8 against teams with a winning record this year … one and done … and next year’s schedule will not be as favorable, 2012 Bengals will have losing record … up and down again ….

  28. zerophocus says: Jan 1, 2012 7:40 PM

    “Wow, that obvious no call at the end of the game decided the division and the playoff seedings. Never seen a guy get mugged ten feet from an official who decides to ignore it”

    You mean like how Webb had his face mask held on to until the ball was 10 feet from the receiver?

  29. ravenator says: Jan 1, 2012 7:42 PM

    Steelers were swept, Bengals were swept, Browns were swept, man the Ravens really worked yall this year. Hey Pittsburgh, get ready to get Tebow’d next week while the Ravens rest up and prepare their travel plans for Indy.

  30. test2402 says: Jan 1, 2012 7:42 PM

    Tim Tebow will dominate.

  31. jeepin08 says: Jan 1, 2012 7:42 PM

    Say what you will but the Ravens went 8-0 at home and swept their division. That is a feat that no ther team can boast. Only good things for them can happen from here. Oh, and for the dreaded stealer fans that think they got a shot, The S.B. travels through Baltimore. Did I mention they are undefeated at home this year ?

  32. zonedogz says: Jan 1, 2012 7:45 PM

    Way to back in to the playoffs Bengals and Broncos. NFC Champions will blow out anyone from AFC in Superbowl.

  33. nesuperfan says: Jan 1, 2012 7:46 PM

    Not a fan of either team, but that was clearly PI in the end zone on the second to last play.

  34. runrickyrun34 says: Jan 1, 2012 7:47 PM

    Pass interference wasn’t called because AJ Green was grabbing and holding onto the defenders facemask. The refs did make some bad calls but most of the calls made came in one series. Missed no calls go both ways. How about stopping Ray Rice on two 50+ yard runs.

  35. mswravens says: Jan 1, 2012 7:47 PM

    you Bengal fans need to stop crying about the refs…if you’re being honest, Green about de-masked Webb pushing his head back on that play in the end zone. they were both pushing & tugging each other. good no call. Tackle Ray Rice & we’re not having this discussion!

    I agree with the poster who is thrilled to be in the POs with nothing expected of your squad…with multiple high picks next year & young talent already on the squad…the future is bright. Enjoy the ride that is still going for you & look forward to a great future!!!

    And loving my Ravens!!! The bye & home field is what we needed if we going anywhere this postseason!!!

  36. djigel says: Jan 1, 2012 7:49 PM

    “Bengals are now 1-8 against teams with a winning record this year … one and done … and next year’s schedule will not be as favorable, 2012 Bengals will have losing record … up and down again …”

    Bengals will play Jacksonville and Miami along with AFC West and NFC East. They will get their top CB back along with 2 WRs and their starting Guard. Not to mention 2 first round picks.

    All you can do is play the schedule you have. They were 8-0 against sub-.500 teams…. so? They were in every single game with the exception of one loss to PIT. How many other teams were 8-0 against sub .500 teams…. the Ravens? Does that make them better or worse than their record?

    They will beat Texas and lose to the Patriots. They will finish above .500 next year.

  37. chc36 says: Jan 1, 2012 7:50 PM

    Good game by the Bengals and congrats on the playoffs, no one should complain about penalties as many were missed on both side (substantial holding no calls against the bengals, PI on the corner covering Torrey Smith). But no ref is going to call PI on a ball thrown into quad coverage. Ravens will be seeing them again in the second round.

  38. derek2957 says: Jan 1, 2012 7:56 PM

    Terrible officiating all around in this game. The helmet to helmet hit on Dickson was a terrible call, but the refs evened out with that ridiculously late flag on Ngata for roughing the passer. If that’s roughing the passer than there were about 15 missed roughing calls during the game.

  39. crip2nite says: Jan 1, 2012 8:02 PM

    Congrats to the Ravens and the AFCN sweep!

    Gotta question for you stat and trivia buffs…

    When was the last time ( in the modern NFL) when three teams from the same division had not only winning records but also made it to the playoffs?

  40. bonniebengal says: Jan 1, 2012 8:08 PM

    “somesome says:
    Jan 1, 2012 7:39 PM
    Bengals are now 1-8 against teams with a winning record this year … one and done … and next year’s schedule will not be as favorable, 2012 Bengals will have losing record … up and down again ….”

    Hmmm. The 2012 Bengals get two first round draft picks thanks to the Raiders. They will also get Hall and Shipley back. They are going to be very good. A team to watch.

  41. sterilizecromartie says: Jan 1, 2012 8:14 PM

    jeepin08 says:Jan 1, 2012 7:42 PM

    Say what you will but the Ravens went 8-0 at home and swept their division. That is a feat that no ther team can boast.
    ——
    Green Bay.

  42. texansarenumber1 says: Jan 1, 2012 8:24 PM

    im sorry but didn’t t.j. yates beat andy dalton???

    better luck next year bengals

  43. racerp194 says: Jan 1, 2012 8:29 PM

    Great game between 2 very good teams. Very happy the ravens will have a bye and a home game, they need rest and to get a few people back. I think everybody can say the afc north is the toughest division in football with 3 of 4 in the playoffs. Very lousy officiated game for both sides, bengals def had the worst of it, but the only one that had me baffled was the running into the kicker. They waved it off because it was tipped, but what did that have to do with running into the kicker?

    GO RAVENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  44. cdwains says: Jan 1, 2012 8:34 PM

    The official that no called the PI on the second to last play of the game should be suspended 8 games. That was as obvious as PI can be and he totally blew it. That said the Bengals would have only had time to run one play so they may or may not have scored, and then they had to get the 2pt conversion, just to take it to OT. Either way the official should have thrown the flag.

  45. steelersownyou says: Jan 1, 2012 8:35 PM

    Ravens suck! Can’t wait to crush you in playoffs!

  46. sophiethegreatdane says: Jan 1, 2012 8:37 PM

    Quit whining about the refs, Bengals fans. The Ngata call was terrible, and the Jarret Johnson call was just as bad.

    Green had Webb by the face mask long before Webb touched him, and let’s not look past the massive amount of offensive holding on the very last play.

  47. jeepin08 says: Jan 1, 2012 9:03 PM

    @sterilizecromartie says:
    Just checked, thought their loss was in their division. My bad. Still a great accomplishment. Besides, what does a Jet fan care. They have serious problems of their own starting with their coaching.

    ********************************************
    crip2nite says:
    Jan 1, 2012 8:02 PM
    Congrats to the Ravens and the AFCN sweep!

    Gotta question for you stat and trivia buffs…

    When was the last time ( in the modern NFL) when three teams from the same division had not only winning records but also made it to the playoffs?

    Well two actually made it and one backed in. Does that even count ? Out of those three, two will be one and done probably by next weekend.

  48. cincyhokie says: Jan 1, 2012 9:55 PM

    Teams that “back in” to the playoffs are teams that tend to underperform from preseason expectations.

    But, obviously everyone predicted that the Bengals would win more than 9 games this year, right?

    Bengals go 4-12. Get criticized.
    Bengals go 9-7 and make playoffs amid mass amounts of negative predictions. Get criticized.

    All the teams the Bengals lost to this year are better than them. But of course they were supposed to be so much better, right?

    Playoffs are the playoffs.

  49. bebopa says: Jan 1, 2012 9:57 PM

    Ray Rice and Suggs offensive and defensive MVP’s this season. Go Ravens

  50. bmoreballbuster says: Jan 1, 2012 10:01 PM

    Simply put, the superior team was victorious today after all the naysayers doubted the Blackbirds. This was a statement that the Purple & Black are ready for all comers, on the road or otherwise. Bring on the Stoolers. Taking “3″ wins in a single season will be sweet! Beware, RAVENS are for real and ready to kick ass!

  51. thetruuf says: Jan 1, 2012 10:17 PM

    Though I think the Bengals will beat the Texans Im hoping Houston wins. If its PIT@BAL I rather it be in the AFC Championship game.

  52. pausethinkspeak says: Jan 1, 2012 10:20 PM

    The optimism from the bungals fans is so cute! Keep telling yourself next year will be different from the other two times you made the playoffs due to a weak schedule, keep complaining bout the refs, keep talking like Mikey isn’t going to screw this up somehow. 2 first round picks means double the chances of drafting a bust.

  53. ppdoc13 says: Jan 1, 2012 10:33 PM

    @steelersownyou – mommy let you out of the basement again?

  54. nocookies28 says: Jan 1, 2012 10:42 PM

    “mrcincinnati says: Jan 1, 2012 7:28 PM

    Anyone watching that game has to admit that the refs absolutely called nothing against the ravens and there were a lot of questionable calls against the bengals..not to mention pass interference in the endzone that they didnt call with a referee standing right there..i would be a lot madder if we didnt make it to the playoffs but we did…WHO DEY!!!!!!”

    That “pass interference” was likely not called because AJ Green (I think) stiff armed Lardarius Webb in the face before Webb made contact. I’m not trying to troll, but just watch the replay and you’ll see what I mean.

  55. ravenator says: Jan 1, 2012 11:11 PM

    @steelersownyou – back for some more humble pie?

  56. burtomatic says: Jan 1, 2012 11:18 PM

    referee #119 back judge was awful, disgraceful, and unacceptable. it looked like amateur hour out there today for the officials. I am embarrassed for them.

  57. rexryanseacrest says: Jan 1, 2012 11:22 PM

    Steelersownyou said the ravens would lose today. He Said aj green would have 100+ yards. Now all he has to say is “ravens suck.” Have fun on the road next weekend. I’ll be sitting back watching with my feet up and not a care in the world. Torrey smith ended your division hopes. A rookie.

  58. philrat says: Jan 1, 2012 11:49 PM

    In battle of rookie quarterbacks Andy Dalton, already 0-1 against Yates this year, has the edge against Yates??? Author is ignorant!!

  59. rgiddens says: Jan 2, 2012 1:07 AM

    Hahahaha what happened to all of the Bungle fans talking so much crap a day or two ago? I swear, you guys win a handful of games this year and all of a sudden you all think that you are the Packers or Saints. Nothing made me happier today then to watch you all get brought back to reality. You guys will be the Steelers/Ravens’ little brother for a very, very, very long time LOL

  60. ravensman says: Jan 2, 2012 1:16 AM

    Will you all please stop picking on “steelersownyou?”He/she/it has every reason in the world to be confident after the complete and total 12-9 thrashing the Steelers gave the powerhouse Browns!
    This he/she/it is not a true Steeler fan; or even football fan for that matter – and only posts feeble attempts to aggravate and annoy others.

  61. ppdoc13 says: Jan 2, 2012 1:45 AM

    @mrcincinnatti – you probably don’t rea;oze tjos because you can’t read, but the bengals got called flagged 4 times for 35 yards and the Ravens got flagged 7 times for 58 yards. kinda takes the air out of your argument. btw – the blatant pass interference on Torrey in the 1st qtr would have been another touchdown, so you might as well throw out the last play of the game as well. And the PF on Ngata for roughing the passer was more than a head scratcher it was ludicrous. See, my compadre, we can all complain about the refs. The bottom line is you got beat by a better team. Remember that, girlie, you got beat by a better team. We swept the AFCN this year and went undefeated at home. You got beat by a better team. There is no shame in that. You all had a very nice year considering you started a rookie QB and a rookie WR, but the bottom line is that the Ravens were better in general across the board on defense and on offense as well. Torrey got none of the pub that Green got and had a season that was comparable. Last time to say this so that you from Cincy who seem to have trouble reading: YOU GOT BEAT BY A BETTER TEAM

  62. steelersownyou says: Jan 2, 2012 9:12 AM

    We’ll see you in 2 weeks at empty bank suckers! Then we will beat you in your own house…cause cincy will play patriots & lose. Then we will be playing patriots in foxboro…deal with it ravens fans. It’s gonna get very real for you dopes soon..ohhh yaaa

  63. somesome says: Jan 2, 2012 9:51 AM

    steelersownyou says:Jan 2, 2012 9:12 AM

    We’ll see you in 2 weeks at empty bank suckers! Then we will beat you in your own house…cause cincy will play patriots & lose. Then we will be playing patriots in foxboro…deal with it ravens fans. It’s gonna get very real for you dopes soon..ohhh yaaa
    ~~~~~~~~~~~

    great performance against the BROWNS … what makes you think you even win ONE game in the play offs????

    Non factor in the play offs …..

  64. steelersownyou says: Jan 2, 2012 10:18 AM

    @somesome…uhhhh I watched the Ravens vs cincy game yesterday, and that was less than good play by the ravens & their king of “checkdown” QB joe flacco.. AndI saw your ravens almost get beat by the browns in your own house! In cleveland yesterday if you knew anything there was 40 mph winds which makes it impossible to throw the ball. And that’s what we do chump. You just better hope there is high winds at empty bank in 2 weeks. Cause if not it’s steel curtains for the ratbirds!

  65. ravenator says: Jan 2, 2012 11:12 AM

    @steelersownyou

    What happened to your division crown? Oh that’s right, Ravens took it from your team in a dominating sweep

  66. steelersownyou says: Jan 2, 2012 12:49 PM

    @ravenator….yup you dominated the afc north. With a last second hail mary to smith who clearly pushed off..but all of that is in the past..lets look forward now. Things we know..steelers old, slow & done defense ended up # 1 in league. Ravens #6 defense. Steelers offense ranked 9th..Ravens ranked 19th…hmmmm. Let me know how this works out in the end…I’m pretty sure we all know how..Steelers AFC Champions! Book it!

  67. ravenator says: Jan 2, 2012 2:08 PM

    @steelersownyou – Wake up man. Are you really that naive? Yes that was a push-off (not), how about the fact that your CB grabbed his arm prior to even pushing off, it was the right call, defensive pass-interference, deal with it. That #1 defense certainly showed up week 1, haha, wait, did it show up in week 9, nope!!! What about vs the niners??? Nope!!!! Yes keep telling yourself that the Steelers will be AFC champions. They’ll be lucky to even make it out of Denver. Didn’t you say book it for when the Ravens were supposed to fall to the Bengals week 17, oh wait, that didn’t happen did it? Ya, I’ll book it when one of your predictions actually happens. To this point, your rambling, incoherent response just sounds trite.

  68. numberonesteelerhater says: Jan 2, 2012 9:00 PM

    How can anyone say the Bengals backed into the playoffs??? Of the teams that were in the AFC PO hunt, who was more deserving? The Broncos backed in with a 500 record while winning their division with a 500 record, the raiders ended their season with a 500 record, the Jets ended their season with a 500 record, and the Bengals defeated the 9-7 Titans in a head to head match up during the regular season. The Bengals done all the right things through the duration of the season to get to the playoffs. PLAYOFFS?!?! PLAYOFFS!?!? I CAN’T BELIEVE WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE BENGALS IN THE PLAYOFFS!?!? They might have lost to the Ravens last Sunday, however, that does not mean they backed in.

  69. kbman37 says: Jan 2, 2012 10:44 PM

    @ravenator – Exactly! Torrey absolutely pushed off – LEGALLY because he was trying to break free from William Gay’s illegal hold. The flag was in the air a full two steps before Torrey shoved Gay off of him. Against playoff teams this year the Ravens are 6-0, Texans 3-2, Steelers 3-4, Pats 1-2, Broncos 1-3, Bengals 0-7.

    I think the Steelers are a better football team than the Broncos, but they are going to lose Sunday. Being in Denver is going to wear on the aging Steelers D. They’ll likely play well the first half but by the middle of the third quarter they’ll be sucking wind and Jesus’ own quarterback will be blowing past them for the win.

  70. 1fast84 says: Jan 3, 2012 5:18 AM

    The bengals swept the division and made the playoffs 2 years ago and since that season they have a new starting qb, 3 new starting receivers, a new starting te and offensive coordinator and that’s just offense! To make all those changes from 2 years ago and make it back to the playoffs is pretty darn good.

    I just hope they’re not one and done again. Playing against houston it could go either way.

  71. noquickreactionshere says: Jan 3, 2012 11:46 AM

    Ok people let’s get real for a second.

    First, to everyone talking about the officials in this game… Ravens had 7 penalties called agains them, the Bengals had 4….. Don’t get it twisted nobody “Had it out for the Bengals” As for the final play, when a DB is in proper position and looking up for the ball he get’s away with a lot more than if he were out of position. On those jump balls there is always a lot of pushing back and forth and does not/should not get called.

    And for the Bengals fans upset about the line that says they didn’t look like a playoff team…. they did not look like a playoff team. Your team had one good drive the entire game, they were down 17-3 at half time, gave up 200 + yards rushing and never had a real shot at winning that game (A 40 yard hail mary with 4 seconds left is not a legit shot at winning especially when you are down by 8 and still need a 2 pt conversion).

    They got the ball down the field because the Ravens D gave them the middle of the field purposfully so that they would eat up clock… which they did. The following plays they got nothing just as the did all game.

    If they were a playoff caliber team they would have gotten up to stop the run when they game was 17-13 and not let Ray Rice bust off 51 yards and TD. But Baltimore was the playoff team Sunday, they build a lead, sat on it, then forced the Bengals to use their timeouts and milked the clock.

    I’m not always a fan of it, and it’s hard to watch but the Ravens love to use the clock as a 12th defender, they did it Sunday and it worked. The game was never in doubt and if the hail mary had worked (which it doesn’t 90% of the time) then we would be talking about how the Bengals “stole one away” from Baltimore who controlled the game from start to finish with maybe the exception of the 3rd quarter.

  72. marcus3321 says: Jan 3, 2012 10:26 PM

    Ravens a trip to Indy? What did they all go In together and rent a sports bar to watch the Super Bowl or something? You will never play in a Super Bowl ever again while joe is your qb..mediocre at best. The bengals will beat Houston so they’ll see you again but with different refs this time

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