Having gone nearly ten days without a Ravens game to discuss, we’re finishing off our “EbonyBird.com Midseason Awards” series today with our Defensive MVP, who doubles as our general team MVP. Thus far, this player has shown superb skills, a knack for making big plays when needed, and incredible leadership. Now, this is kind of a no-brainer based on the way he’s played, but for suspense’s sake, we’ll make you read after the jump to see the name revealed.
As a quick recap, here are the other winners:
- Top Rookie: Morgan Cox
- Special Teams MVP: Billy Cundiff
- Offensive MVP: Anquan Boldin
Defensive and Team MVP after the jump.
Ray Lewis, Linebacker:
It’s a no-brainer. Sure, Haloti Ngata has been having a great season, but Lewis has been among the NFL’s best all season, and his stellar play has been a big part in helping the Ravens to a 5-2 record. On the surface, his stats have been extremely impressive. Boasting 60 tackles (46 solo, 14 assisted), 2.0 sacks, an interception, a forced fumble that he ended up recovering, and 3 pass deflections gives him one of the most well-rounded stat lines of any defensive player in the league. What really makes Lewis’ play stand out this season, however, is what he’s done in the clutch. Here’s the list (with video):
- Week 1: Hitting Dustin Keller to prevent a possible first-down reception, and quite possibly shaking him up to prevent him from converting a fourth-down reception into a first down. See the video to refresh your memory:
- Week 4: Intercepting a Charlie Batch pass with 20 seconds left to go to guarantee a 17-14 Ravens win in Pittsburgh:
- Week 7: Literally stealing the ball from Bills tight end Shawn Nelson in overtime, setting up a game-winning field goal from Billy Cundiff:
So, you can see that Lewis has not only been great, but great when it really counted. Without those three plays, it can be argued that the Ravens are 2-5 right now instead of 5-2. And, if we’re speaking in the hypothetical, the “tripping” penalty the refs called on #52 in Week 2 against the Bengals arguably cost the Ravens that game. If the correct call is made, that sack improves Lewis’ stats and helps the Ravens start the season off 2-0.
Getting away from the could-have-beens, you can’t say enough about Lewis’ performance thus far. Putting up 60 tackles in 7 games puts the future Hall of Fame linebacker on pace for 137 tackles for the season, which would be his 5th-highest career total. There’s something to be said about 137 tackles in a player’s 15th season in the NFL. While most other linebackers are playing golf and XBOX at this age, Ray Lewis is still terrorizing the NFL, and it doesn’t look like he’s letting up anytime soon.
So, there you have it. We’ll revisit these awards at the end of the season, and see how well the players’ second halves went.