Wake-up caw: AFC North bounces back

Remember when everyone jumped on the AFC North when all the teams lost their season opener? Well, this division is the only one in the AFC that has three teams with winning records. The AFC East could be the second if the New York Jets win at Atlanta on "Monday Night Football." Nevertheless, it's been a nice showing for the AFC North, which has sent at least two teams to the playoffs for the past five seasons.

The Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns all remain tied atop the AFC North because they took care of business against the AFC East. On Sunday, the Ravens won at the Dolphins and the Bengals beat the Patriots. They kept pace with the Browns, who downed the Bills on Thursday.

All three teams are 3-2 and hold a 2 1/2-game lead over the winless Pittsburgh Steelers, who had their bye after losing in London.

In case you missed it, I wrote about Joe Flacco's perseverance, Terrell Suggs' three fourth-quarter sacks and the Ravens' winning formula.

Here's your Wake-up caw ...

  • The Baltimore Sun's Mike Preston was more impressed with Flacco's toughness than his numbers. "Flacco carried the Ravens on a hot, humid Sunday here in October," Preston wrote. "He didn't have Peyton Manning or Tom Brady statistics, but he had grit which allowed him to stand up against a strong Dolphins pass rush and lead the Ravens to victory."

  • John Eisenberg, of the team's official website, believes the end result is all that matters this time. "Was it a pretty win? Hardly. Is there plenty to pick apart? For sure," Eisenberg wrote. "But by the end of what was basically an even game, all the Ravens cared about was coming home with a win rather than their fifth straight road defeat dating back to last season."

  • Backup center A.Q. Shipley replaced injured left guard Kelechi Osemele (back) after the opening series. Shipley told The Baltimore Sun that he hadn't played guard since last season when he was with the Indianapolis Colts and rarely practices at that spot. "Just from being at center, I know the offense and was ready to roll," Shipley said.

  • Struggling tight end Ed Dickson caught both of the passes that were thrown to him, including one early in the second quarter that turned into a 43-yard gain and helped set up a Justin Tucker field goal. “Ed Dickson played very well — [in the] run game, he made a huge play on the crossing route, and he had a great week of practice,” coach John Harbaugh said, via The Carroll County (Md.) Times. “I’m proud of Ed Dickson.”

  • It wasn't on the same scale as the Super Bowl blackout, but you can see Harbaugh's reaction when the lights went out in his postgame interview. Video is courtesy of Comcast SportsNet.