The Baltimore Sun
1:05 PM EST, December 4, 2013
Much of the Ravens-related national discussion this week has centered on the incident involving Mike Tomlin on the sideline Thanksgiving night. Since we've already got every angle of that covered, here's a look at some other items national media outlets have written this week regarding the Ravens' victory over Pittsburgh and their upcoming game against Minnesota.
* In breaking down the Ravens-Steelers game Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus took a close look at Haloti Ngata's production:
At times Haloti Ngata is a very frustrating player to watch. He laid down a marker on the very first snap of the game, swimming his way across a pair of Steelers blockers to blow up the run in the backfield. This was J.J. Watt-type stuff, but it was to be the exception not the rule for the Ravens' lineman in this game. He regularly flashes the kind of dominance he is capable of, but has never been able to deploy it on as regular a basis as the best players in the game at his position, and such has usually been underrated by PFF compared to the general view of him. In this game Ngata could only generate a single bit of pressure on 28 pass rushing snaps, though it was a knockdown, albeit a pretty late one. He was better against the run thanks to plays like that first snap, but was still less than dominant, grading only +2.1 overall. I say only, because though that is an impressive grade, it is so much less than he is capable of, and showed he was able to achieve in flashes in this game.
* Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio looked at Jimmy Smith's helmet-displacing hit on Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell and found, via a source, that the hit did not violate the "crown of the helmet" rule:
Steelers fans had multiple reasons to be upset regarding the play that looked like a touchdown, but that wasn’t. ... As the source explained it, the rule is intended to prevent players from taking a direct line at an opponent to deliver a battering-ram blow with the crown. Here, [Jimmy] Smith didn’t. In contrast, linebacker Courtney Upshaw seemed to line Bell up at the goal line — but Upshaw failed to actually deliver a blow with the top of his helmet.
* Pro Football Talk's Michael David Smith wrote an appreciation of Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, whom the Ravens will get to know well Sunday. (It also includes a shoutout to a few former Ravens linemen):
Yes, yes, we all know he’s good. But do we take the time to really examine how good he is? Peterson, who willed the Vikings to victory on Sunday with a 35-carry, 211-yard game against the Bears, has now topped 10,000 yards in his career, and that seems like a natural benchmark to reflect on just how extraordinary Peterson’s career has been. ...
One of the impressive things about Peterson is that he doesn’t seem impressed with himself. When asked about reaching the 10,000-yard mark, Peterson was quick to credit the offensive linemen he’s played with.
“A lot of guys over the years have contributed to it,” Peterson said. “Matt Birk, Steve Hutchinson, Bryant McKinnie, the guys from this year, my fullbacks through the years. Just to be in that elite group, it’s truly a blessing. God has really blessed me to be surrounded by some great guys to get to that goal. So I sit here and I’m just humbled.”
* ESPN.com's Jamison Hensley broke down where the Ravens rank in the league in specific offensive and defensive categories.
When it comes to critical situations, the Baltimore Ravens' offense improved two spots in third-down success rate but dropped four places in red-zone efficiency. But this could change after Sunday's game. The Ravens face a Vikings defense that ranks 31st on third downs and 23rd in the red zone.
* The MMQB had a couple pieces this week that weren't directly about the Ravens but had some ties.
Peter King kicked off a three-part behind-the-scenes look at the week in the life of an officiating crew. He followed Gene Steratore and company when they called the Ravens-Bears game a couple weeks ago.
* And finally, one look at an updated mock draft SI.com's Chris Burke posted Wednesday morning. He has the Ravens taking defensive end Stephon Tuitt from Notre Dame at No. 18.
Tuitt has taken heat for a somewhat disappointing 2013. His talent and ability to play in a number of different looks up front will win out in the end. Arthur Jones is headed toward a hefty free-agent contract while Chris Canty is due a roster bonus in March. Nabbing Tuitt would allow the Ravens to move on from one or the other without losing sleep.
NFL power rankings roundup
* The Ravens jumped to No. 14 in ProFootballTalk's list, up six spots from last week.
For Ravens fans, watching the Steelers sweat out discipline from the league office is fun.
* On FoxSports.com, former Ravens coach Brian Billick also has the Ravens at No. 14 after he had them four spots lower last week.
The Ravens are 5-1 at home this season and are an amazing 38-8 at home in the Joe Flacco/John Harbaugh era.
* The Ravens went from 18th to 14th in ESPN.com's rankings.
Joe Flacco was 6-for-10 for 93 yards targeting Torrey Smith Thursday night. Smith caught the Ravens' only touchdown, with Justin Tucker's career-high five field goals doing the rest.
* CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco also ranks the Ravens at No. 14, four spots better than last week.
They have a favorable schedule down the stretch and the defense is getting better by the week. Are they ready to make a push?
* NFL.com's Elliot Harrison lists the Ravens at No. 16, up two places from last week.Big win for the still-viable Ravens. For all their problems -- the exodus of veteran players, losing Dennis Pitta to injury, not being able to run the football -- they've quietly hung in there in both the AFC North and AFC wild-card races.
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