Welcome to the Monday Ravens 10-Pack, where reporter Jon Meoli hits on 10 stats, notes, and thoughts following a 28-13 road win over the Miami Dolphins. Read ahead for notes on replacing Haloti Ngata, the offense carrying this team, and the performance of Rick Wagner and Eugene Monroe.
1. A week after the Ravens' season was over, the Ravens' season is anything but, and the team is almost fully responsible for its own playoff destiny. Thank the quarterback for that. As they so often do, the Ravens began the game unevenly on offense, and only once quarterback Joe Flacco sped up the pace during plays did everything start to click. Now at 8-5 and with an offense that will likely get Torrey Smith back for the playoff push, the Ravens are scoring around 30 points per game since the bye and will look to the offense to carry the flawed defense to the playoffs.
2. I thought there would be a lot of secondary consequences to suspended defensive tackle Haloti Ngata's absence, but the Ravens' front seven barely missed a beat after the first few drives. I think the unit was overzealous and jumpy without him those first few drives, but settled down and collected six sacks and a few more tackles fo loss. Miami's run game never built on a few strong early drives, and no one seemed impacted by the loss of Ngata. Whether that continues to be the case will be a big factor in when this team's season ends.
3. The Ravens were kind of bailed out when Oliver Vernon's sack wasn't called a safety, but that was a rare miscue for tackles Rick Wagner and Eugene Monroe, who were tremendous in difficult circumstances Sunday. Wagner matched up against Pro Bowl pass rusher Cameron Wake for the afternoon, and as he has all year, he neutralized whatever the opponent put in front of him. Wagner has been one of the team's pleasant surprises this year and appears to be an affordable option at tackle for years to come.
4. Tight end Owen Daniels got most of the attention for his extended training camp, but inside linebacker Daryl Smith also missed a decent chunk of time to rest his aching legs and is playing at as high of a level as anyone. On a team with brutal tackling issues, he and inside partner C.J. Mosley are so steady for the Ravens in an area that they really need it. Smith nearly had his second interception in as many games, and while his four total tackles don't exactly jump off the box score, he was all over the field Sunday.
5. For all of Mosley's strengths, he seems to end up being picked on a ton in pass coverage. This was especially true Sunday against a team that had no interest testing the Ravens' pass defense downfield, instead throwing at Mosley 14 times for 11 catches and 108 yards, according to Pro Football Focus. Opposing teams target Mosley on one of 6.6 dropbacks, making him the most thrown-at inside linebacker in the league.
6. Don't look now, but it appears there is finally a place for Jacoby Jones in the Ravens' offense, even if it's a small one. He only had two touches — one on a reverse and another on a reception — but given how the Ravens' offense doesn't really have an over-the-top threat without Torrey Smith, it makes all the sense in the world to give Jones an opportunity to break a big play every once in a while. It's insane to think that he likely won't match Dennis Pitta's two-plus game total of 16 catches for 125 yards in an entire season, but all it takes is one big play for Jones' impact to be immeasurable in his reduced role.
7. Coach John Harbaugh's celebrated fourth-and-1 decision in the third quarter had a 65-percent chance of succeeding, according to Advanced Football Analytics, and while it would have surely resulted in at least a field goal the other way, we got to see firsthand what success meant in that situation. Some of the earlier third down calls were unimaginative in a bad way, but having a tall, athletic quarterback worked out quite well there.
8. According to PFF, starting safety Darian Stewart played just 17 snaps, with the remainder of reps at his safety position going to Jeromy Miles. Neither particularly distinguished himself, nor did safety Will Hill, but only those three took significant snaps at safety, which is an improvement over the chaos at the position from past weeks. That group will be further strained by the depleted cornerback position, though.
9. Cornerback Danny Gorrer went down with what appeared to be a serious knee injury, while fellow cornerback Anthony Levine suffered a concussion during the first half, setting up an incredibly depressing stat for the Ravens. Every active cornerback for the Ravens this year has either been hurt or played so badly that they've been released (Chykie Brown and Dominique Franks). The only cornerback on the active roster not to suffer either fate is Rashaan Melvin, who has been inactive for every game since he was signed from Miami.
10. Nothing to be proud of this week in the "Three-star Accountability Corner," where I either gloat about or own up to my pregame predictions on the game's three stars. The first star entering the game was the wrong quarterback, as I picked Ryan Tannehill to torch the Ravens secondary when instead it was Flacco who picked apart the league's second-ranked pass defense. Tannehill's tough day meant the second choice, Jarvis Landry, also probably was a bad call, though he led the Dolphin with six catches for 55 yards. And my third choice, Justin Forsett, was clearly limited by his knee injury but still ran for 70 yards and a score. I'll do better next week.