Wake-up caw: Good night for Ravens

What did you get for Halloween? Lots of candy? A cheesy card?

If you're the Baltimore Ravens, you received a big break in the AFC North race. Not only did the first place Cincinnati Bengals lose an overtime game in Miami, they may have lost their best defensive player for the season. Defensive tackle Geno Atkins suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury on Thursday night, less than two weeks after the Bengals lost cornerback Leon Hall to a season-ending Achilles injury.

The Ravens (3-4) closed to within two games of the Bengals (6-3) and can narrow the gap to 1 1/2 games if they win at Cleveland on Sunday. Things certainly got more interesting in the division in a span of four hours in South Florida.

Here's the rest of your Wake-up caw:

  • Josh Bynes officially lost his starting job to Jameel McClain on Thursday, but the Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker could have lost a lot more a couple of weeks ago. When he was hospitalized on Oct. 15, Bynes wasn't sure he was going to come home with all five fingers on his left hand. A cut on his index finger led to a scary situation. "It was either (surgery) or amputation, so I wasn't going to cut my finger off," Bynes said, via the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. "I won't cut the finger off, so I stuck with what was best for me." Bynes had surgery, which forced him to miss the Ravens' last game at Pittsburgh. He fully participated in Thursday's practice and is ready to play Sunday at Cleveland.

  • Right tackle Michael Oher downplayed the severity of a sprained ankle that sidelined him in Wednesday's practice. "I just had a little sprain," Oher told The Baltimore Sun before fully participating Thursday. "I'm good, everything's good. I'll be back out there today. Really tough guy, whatever it takes for the team."

  • One of the reasons why the Ravens released veteran defensive lineman Marcus Spears was the play of rookie third-round pick Brandon Williams, who was actually out-performing Spears. “I feel like I can definitely hold my own. I’m not getting blown off the ball five yards or 10 yards,” Williams told the team's official website. “If I get more plays, hopefully I can produce a little bit more.”

  • Browns running back Willis McGahee, who was cut by the Ravens in July 2011, said he holds no grudges against his former team. “I had some good times in Baltimore,” McGahee said during a conference call, via Comcast SportsNet. “I can’t complain about it. I was done right by the city and the organization. There’s no hatred or anything. It’s a business. It was time for me to move on and go somewhere else, and that’s what happened.” In six games, McGahee has rushed for 231 yards and one touchdown while Ray Rice has 242 yards and three touchdowns in the same amount of games.