Sep 11, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith (89) pursued by Pittsburgh Steelers safety Mike Mitchell (23) and cornerback William Gay (22) at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
Welcome to Lunchtime Links, where we round up all the latest Ravens news from around the web for your convenient consumption. Today we discuss how Steve Smith has found the fountain of youth, Bernard Pierce bounces back for a solid night, Elvis Dumervil brings the heat, and the Ravens may have just saved their playoff chances with Thursday night’s win over the Steelers.
Steve Smith finds the fountain of youth
A lot of people thought that wide receiver Steve Smith was washed up after last season, including the Carolina Panthers. Through two games at least, it appears that he has a lot left in the tank. Smith led the Ravens in receiving for the second straight week, making tough catches and looking just as spry as ever.
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Steve Smith is proving to be the solution for what ailed the Ravens last season, which was the lack of a tough pass catching threat that is also a leader on the field. He may not continue to dominate targets through the entire season, but he is going to fill the void that was left when Anquan Boldin left. That much is certain by now.
Joe Flacco and offense not flashy, but effective
The offense wasn’t exactly lighting things up Thursday night or making huge, flashy plays, but they were quite effective. Their ability to sustain drives was helped tremendously by a clean pocket and lack of pressure on Joe Flacco. In fact, as Gregg Rosenthal pointed out, it has been a long time since the pocket was that clean.
The tight ends played a major role in offensive success as preseason afterthought Owen Daniels was wide open for two touchdown catches. Dennis Pitta had five grabs as well. Bernard Pierce bounced back after a dismal performance last Sunday, racking up 22 carries for 96 yards (4.4 avg) with no turnovers.
Elvis Dumervil brings the heat
The defense was active Thursday after recording zero sacks on Sunday against the Bengals. Elvis Dumervil recorded two sacks for a combined 15 yard loss. Courtney Upshaw would have added another sack, but it was overturned on a penalty after Upshaw led with his helmet.
The Ravens finished with three defensive turnovers as well, which had a major impact on the game’s outcome. As Clifton Brown points out, turnovers have proven to be a key component of the Raven’s success, historically.
Ravens greatly increase playoff odds with win
Teams that start the season 0-2, especially in divisional games, have a very low chance at making the playoffs. By improving to 1-1 following their win over the Steelers, the Ravens have basically quadrupled those odds, based on historical numbers.