Ravens Locker Room Celebration Revealing
"That's a great win," Head Coach John Harbaugh screamed over a cheering locker room after the Ravens' 9-6 win over the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday.
The post-game celebration revealed just how the team feels about getting any win, even if it's "ugly."
Our own Ryan Mink wrote about style points not mattering to the Ravens in their win over the Chiefs.
"Who is the style points track keeper?" a smiling Harbaugh asked Monday. "I am glad we can work on [our mistakes] with a win, albeit not a style-point win, but a win."
John Eisenberg addressed a similar topic, giving his take on whether fans should be encouraged by a 4-1 record or worried about streaky offensive performances and the defense giving up chunks of yards.
"I understand both opinions," the columnist wrote. "The Ravens do indeed have issues on both sides of the ball, as Head Coach John Harbaugh himself affirmed Monday. But they're also a savvy veteran team with a palpable winning knack, a quality that can offset a lot of problems. Other teams would kill for the Ravens' ability to seal deals.
"But if you forced me to take a side, I would say the fans concerned about the issues are more on-point than those simply satisfied by the winning record."
As can be seen in the Ravens' post-game locker room celebration, the Ravens appear to lean toward the other side. Coaches and players were clearly elated, not discouraged, to get a gritty win on the road against a feisty team.
But as veteran Ed Reed told his teammates, they know they have to get better.
"Guys, you knew they were going to play their hearts out," the safety said. "They got smashed last week at home. We came out, we won. It'll be like that sometimes. You just have to pick this [stuff] up and get better so let's do it."
Baltimore Once Cheered Injured QB
In light of Chiefs offensive tackle Eric Winston telling fans that he was "sickened" and "disgusted" by their cheering quarterback Matt Cassel's injury – which was later revealed to be a concussion – ESPN's Jamison Hensley pointed out that Ravens fans once did the same thing.
With Kyle Boller struggling to get the Ravens offense moving seven years ago, a portion of the crowd at M&T Bank Stadium cheered when the quarterback was lying on the ground with a toe injury.
"I was covering that game when fans turned on Boller and remember feeling shocked as well as sickened, to steal a term from [Winston]," Hensley wrote. "Fans have the right to cheer and boo. But that doesn't make it right.
"It was wrong when they did it to Boller and they were wrong when they did it to Cassel. This has nothing to do with what you think about Cassel or Boller as quarterbacks. It's classless, plain and simple."
Cowboys Lucky To Be 2-2?
Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones essentially said his team is lucky to be 2-2, even though that's not what he says he's saying.
Prior to Dallas' bye last week, the team suffered two blowout losses by a combined 61-25 point total to the Seattle Seahawks and Chicago Bears. Those games were offset by an "ugly" 16-10 victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, says the Star-Telegram's Clarence Hill. (This probably sounds familiar to Ravens fans.)
Jones said this about his team's standing Tuesday: "I'm disappointed that we're not putting more points on the board. I'm disappointed that we're not getting the turnovers. All of that tells me that at 2-2, we're in pretty good shape, considering the way we've played.
"I'm not saying we're lucky to be 2-2, but we haven't played any better than 2-2. We can play better, though. That's the good news."
What's Next For Cundiff?
The Redskins released former Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff Tuesday and replaced him with former UCLA kicker Kai Forbath.
Cundiff was let go after going 2-for-6 the last two weeks. He has ranked as the NFL's worst kicker this year, making only seven of 12 field-goal attempts.
So what's next for the eight-year veteran?
"NFL kickers are known to have nine lives, though some teams could be scared off by how Cundiff's struggles carried over from his infamous miss for the Baltimore Ravens in January's AFC championship game," wrote NFL.com's Dan Hanzus.
Added ESPN's Tim Kavanagh: "[P]lacekicker is a fickle position in the NFL, and we're sure there will be some other [kicker] that melts down at some point this season. Cundiff should get another shot at that time."
Power Rankings: Week 6
Despite back-to-back wins, the Ravens continue to fall in the NFL power rankings around the web.
With the exception of NFL.com's Elliot Harrison, the remaining pundits dropped the Ravens one to two spots simply for taking part in one of the week's ugliest games.
Pete Prisco, CBSSports.com: No. 4, moved down one spot
We'll keep them here, but that was pretty darn ugly in Kansas City. That defense has issues.
ESPN.com: No. 4, moved down one spot
Model of consistency: This marks the third straight season that Baltimore has started 4-1.
Brian Billick, Foxsports.com: No. 6, moved down two spots
The Ravens gave up 214 yards rushing on Sunday, tied for second-most in franchise history. Teams just aren't scared to run right through the teeth of the Ravens defense like they once were, and that may come back to haunt this team late in the season.
Elliot Harrison, NFL.com: No. 4, no movement
There aren't many 9-6 games in the NFL anymore -- the current rules just aren't conducive to defensive dogfights -- but they're pretty cool in my mind. The only downside for the Ravens is the gaping hole that is their run defense. Kansas City eclipsed 200 yards rushing, and Ray Lewis was overwhelmed on several occasions. Interesting factoid from Baltimore's win: This contest featured 45 passes total -- the lowest figure in any game all year.
Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk.com: No. 5, moved down two spots
Annnnnnd the Joe Flacco Contract Leverage Pendulum swings back toward the team.
Peter King, Sports Illustrated: No. 6, moved down two spots
A meh game in Kansas City, but a win's a win.
Zac Wassink, Yahoo! Sports: No. 5, moved down one spot
Fall in NFL power rankings despite winning due to being partially responsible for what could go down as the ugliest game of the season. Yuck.
Cushing Out – Effect On AFC Standings?
It's official.* *Texans linebacker Brian Cushing is out for the season after tearing his ACL in Monday night's win over the New York Jets. Head Coach Gary Kubiack confirmed the news Tuesday.
Cushing was injured in the second quarter on a Matt Slauson chop block from behind. The NFL Network debated whether the hit was dirty or legal.
With the Texans' MVP gone, it could have an effect on the AFC standings, in which Houston leads the conference by one game over Baltimore.
The two teams go head-to-head in Week 7, and the Texans will be looking for a formidable backup for that game, as they don't have a lot of depth at inside linebacker.
"Teams formulate plans to block him because he's a dangerous rusher," wrote ESPN's Paul Kurharsky. "The Texans have a lot of other dangerous rushers, however. They don't have a lot of other inside linebackers who can run and cover the way Cushing can, and when he's absent it's sure to be a spot that gets targeted."
- In response to SI.com's analysis that Ray Lewis' weight loss is hurting his ability in the run defense, Ray Frager wrote: "Let me respectfully disagree that this has anything to do with Lewis' lighter frame. Lewis is getting blocked, sure, but that's not a function of his weighing less. Even at his previous, more husky size, the linebacker was always outweighed by offensive linemen, nearly all of whom check in at 300 pounds or more. As strong as he was — if you buy into the idea that he's appreciably less strong now — Lewis wasn't going to consistently out-wrestle guys who had 50 or so pounds on him. Remember, some years back, before Haloti Ngata's arrival, about how Lewis said he wanted massive defensive tackles in front of him to keep those offensive linemen occupied, leaving him free to seek out running backs?" [CSNBaltimore.com]
- Cowboys' Sean Lee was 10 when Lewis made his NFL debut, and 17 years later the young linebacker still looks up to the man who will be his opponent Sunday. "He's been around a long time and he's been one of the best if not the best of all time," Lee said Tuesday. "The way he's played, the passion he's played the game with, every linebacker in the league looks up to a guy like that." [ESPNDallas.com]
- The Ravens have something the Cowboys don't – an identity. [Dallas Morning News]
- Cary Williams wants to become a big-time corner. [WBAL]
- @ravensinsider: Cowboys to work out about a dozen players Friday prior to their trip to Baltimore, according to a league source. [Twitter]
- Second-year cornerback Chykie Brown is excelling on special teams and leads (tied) the Ravens in special teams tackles. [The Baltimore Sun]