At the start of training camp, the Ravens secondary was considered to be the team's biggest weakness, even before cornerback Domonique Foxworth tore his ACL. Six months later, pass defense might be an area of strength when the Ravens face the Steelers in the divisional round.
Credit secondary coach Chuck Pagano for getting the most out of this group. Two of the Ravens' regulars at cornerback -- Lardarius Webb and Fabian Washington -- are a year removed from major knee surgery. And he has Chris Carr and Josh Wilson playing up to their potential.
The Ravens rank 21st in pass defense, but they have once again been doing that bend-but-don't-break thing. For example, Carson Palmer threw for 305 yards against the Ravens in Week 17. But the Ravens kept the Bengals out of the end zone in the closing minutes of the 13-7 win.
With eight interceptions in their past three games, the Ravens have been ball-hawking, too.
They picked off Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel three times in last week's 30-7 wild-card win. The Baltimore defense also shut out Kansas City wideout Dwayne Bowe. The Pro Bowler led the NFL with 15 receiving touchdowns during the regular season, but against the Ravens, he didn't have a catch of any variety. Bowe wasn't even targeted, which has been a hot topic in K.C. this week.
"Their defense was schemed around me, to take me out, and that's exactly what they did," Bowe told Kansas City reporters on Monday. "It happened, but that's over."
On Saturday, the Ravens secondary will try to limit the damage done by Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and speedy deep threat Mike Wallace. The Ravens can let the Steelers pile up passing yards, but if they keep them out of the end zone, they will be in good shape.