• ESPN.com's James Walker raves about the Ravens' decision to hand the bulk of the offensive plays over to running back Ray Rice.
Baltimore running back Ray Rice had been injured and ignored so far this season. While fantasy football owners have been disappointed, the Ravens (4-1) shrugged it off because they were winning and knew eventually they would turn back to their Pro Bowl back.
Sunday was that type of game, as Rice rushed for a season-high 133 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-17 victory over the Denver Broncos. It was the first 100-yard game of the season for Rice, who was heavily involved in the game plan and had his number called 27 times after getting just 23 carries in the previous two games.
• Despite the Ravens' 4-1 record, Walker says the team might not have reached its full potential yet.
The Ravens are 4-1 and remain in first place in the AFC North. What is scary is there's still a few areas Baltimore can tighten up, which we will get to below. You get the sense the ceiling may be even higher for this group.
• Clark Judge of CBSSports.com highlights an unsung hero for the Ravens in his Week 5 Judgements.
Billy Cundiff's kickoffs. The Ravens' kicker drilled four of five into the end zone, provoking coach John Harbaugh -- a former special-teams coach -- to gush that "he's been as good as any kicker in the league as far as kicking off." For the record, Cundiff has 11 touchbacks through five games. The Ravens had four last year.
• Judge also speaks highly about the Ravens defense, despite the fact that Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton threw for more than 300 yards in the game.
That's one way of looking at it. Another is that they're better, and maybe vastly better, than we expected. With Foxworth out for the season, and Washington and backup Lardarius Webb returning from major knee injuries, the hole in the Ravens makeup no longer looked like something on offense; it was its cornerbacks, with people in the NFL questioning how they would ... or could ... hold up.
Maybe they should ask Kyle Orton. He found it difficult to do much of anything against them, and yeah, he threw for more than 300 yards for the fourth straight game. Big deal. He didn't produce a touchdown until falling behind by 17, and he didn't produce another until 35 seconds were left.
• SI.com's Andrew Perloff provides a quick analysis of the Ravens' win.
The Ravens are a different team when Ray Rice is at full strength, like in Sunday's win. Rice, who ran for 1,339 yards last season, had his first 100-yard game of the season (133) and made everything Baltimore wanted to do on offense easier. Good thing, because the Ravens were putting too much pressure on their defense to win every week.
• In his Monday Morning Quarterback column, Peter King of SI.com picks the Ravens at the top of his "The Fine Fifteen" rankings.
1. Baltimore (4-1). Ray Rice lives. And I continue to regret calling the secondary so awful before the season. Wait until that group gets Ed Reed back, likely in a couple of weeks.
• Don Banks of SI.com notes that a good portion of Orton's passing yardage came after the Ravens had already grabbed a commanding lead.
Kyle Orton kept up the aerial assault for the Broncos, rolling up 314 yards of passing against the Ravens' top-ranked pass defense. But after Baltimore took a 17-0 lead in the second quarter, it felt mostly like Orton was wracking up garbage-time yards.
• Roger Rotter of FoxSports.com lists Rice as a fantasy football stud following his performance against Denver.
He had greatly disappointed through the first four games by registering just one contest of at least 100 total yards and failing to score. Drafted as a consensus top five overall pick, Rice fulfilled his high expectations by running for 133 yards and two scores.
He also totaled 159 yards by gaining 26 yards from four receptions. He's had seven career games of at least 150 total yards and recorded his second career contest of multiple scores.
[Compiled by Dean Jones Jr.]