Each Wednesday, blogger Matt Vensel highlights five stats that really mean something for the Ravens.
The second-year Ravens kicker made all five of his field goals in the win over the Steelers, including a 48-yarder late in the fourth quarter that gave the Ravens what proved to be the game-winner. Tucker has made nine field goals in the past two weeks and hasn't missed since the Week 2 win over the Cleveland Browns. That streak of 27 straight field goals is the longest in the NFL this season and nine shy of the franchise record of 36, set by Matt Stover, of course. No one has made more field goals than Tucker (29), and he is fourth in the NFL with a 93.5 percent success rate on his attempts.
After Jameel McClain returned to the field in Week 7, defensive coordinator Dean Pees said McClain would be the starter at weak-side linebacker going forward. McClain has since gotten the majority of the snaps at the position, with Bynes and rookie Arthur Brown spelling him in certain situations. But in last week's win over the Steelers, Bynes, who had averaged 17 defensive snaps over the previous three games, played 40, his most since Week 6. McClain, meanwhile, played just 18. It's unknown whether the bump in snaps for Bynes was due to the game plan, performance or an injury. We'll see whether the trend continues.
The Ravens' inside linebackers have been much better in pass coverage this season compared to last, when Ray Lewis and Dannell Ellerbe manned the middle. But last week, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was able to exploit them with quick passes to running back Le'Veon Bell and tight end Heath Miller. According to Pro Football Focus, Bynes, McClain and middle linebacker Daryl Smith were targeted 19 times and allowed 15 completions, for 142 yards and a touchdown. Bynes, in particular, was victimized, allowing eight completions on eight targets, for 86 yards. Those inside backers must tighten up their coverage in the coming weeks.
The Ravens did not record a sack against the Steelers, ending a stretch of 19 straight regular-season games in which they had at least two. The last time the Ravens were held to one sack was a win over the Cleveland Browns in Week 9 of 2012, and the last time they were shut out was against the Kansas City Chiefs four weeks before that. Their multisack streak was tied for the league's longest such streak since 1990, and the Ravens recorded 61 sacks over that span.
The Ravens will be tasked with trying to wrap up the NFL's best running back this weekend. Peterson, the star back for the Minnesota Vikings, leads the NFL with 1,208 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns. While piling up 211 yards against the Chicago Bears on Sunday, Peterson forced eight missed tackles, according to Pro Football Focus. This season, he has broken 64 total tackles. Only Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks has forced more missed tackles (66). The Ravens have been pretty sound at tackling since their Week 1 debacle, and missed just three tackles against the Steelers, but Peterson is a whole different animal.
Bloggers note: Have a stat you want to share? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet at me at @mattvensel. If I use it, I'll be sure to give you a nice plug on the blog.