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Late For Work 11/10: Best Division Race Ever?


Best Division Race Ever?

The Ravens are a half-game from the division lead, yet they are in last place.

Here's why:

"Best division race ever?" asked ESPN's Jamison Hensley.

Well, when you are pulling up stats from 1935, there's certainly a good argument for it.

The Cleveland Browns find themselves alone at the top of AFC North by the slightest of margins. The last time that happened was in 1994, and the world looked like this:

Here are the division standings after 10 weeks of play:

Cleveland Browns: 6-3 (.667 win percentage)
Cincinnati Bengals: 5-3-1 (.611)
Pittsburgh Steelers: 6-4 (.600) – Steelers win best division record tiebreaker)
Baltimore Ravens: 6-4 (.600)

Images You Will Love From Steelers Loss

So how does a team that notches 12 passing touchdowns in two weeks suddenly deliver a clunker?

One might say Pittsburgh lost to the Jets (2-8) because of their four turnovers. But no, it was because teen sensation Justin Bieber visited the Steelers chapel service Saturday night. This is the fourth time The Curse Of The Biebs has jinxed a team.

Maybe the Steelers just can't recover from the Ravens games. Pittsburgh is 1-5 in their last six games after they face Baltimore.

Regardless of why they stunk in New York, here are images every Ravens fan will love to see:

Michael Vick, looking like young Michael Vick, broke a Steeler defender's ankles and juked him to his knees.

Steelers safety Michael Mitchell was flipped upside down and to the ground when he tried leap over the offensive line during the Jets' victory formation.


Healthy Ngata Becoming Playmaker Again

I don't know how an athletic freak of nature (and I mean that as a compliment) can fly under the radar, but that's what defensive tackle Haloti Ngata has been doing this season.

Not only does the 340-pound Ngata have a stat line that looks like a defensive back – he leads the team (tied with C.J. Mosley) with two interceptions and has a whopping seven passes defensed – but Ngata has anchored the team defense in not allowing a 100-yard rusher in 20 consecutive games.

Then on Sunday, he made a touchdown-saving play by stripping Titans' running back Shonn Greene at the 1-yard line.

Oh, and he did it while falling to the ground from a block to his legs.

"Ngata is back to being a playmaker for Ravens this year," wrote Hensley.

"Haloti Ngata is clearly healthier than he's been in years for Baltimore," added's Jason La Canfora.


Brooks Stands By Hit, And He Should

First off, let's get to what's important.

After a crushing hit from Ravens rookie safety Terrence Brooks, it appears Titans tight end Delanie Walker is doing OK.

"I'm all good," Walker tweeted last night. "i just like to thank the fans for checking up on me, sometime you give them and sometimes u get them and i just got mines lol.."

That's good to hear. Concussions are serious, and we send our best wishes to Walker.

In the heat of the moment, however, Walker's teammates seemed to think Brooks delivered an illegal hit that knocked out the receiver. There was a minor scuffle as Walker lay on the field.

While Walker was injured, Brooks stands by his hit as legal, and he should.

"I just knew I broke on the ball and delivered a good hit," Brooks said after the game. "I definitely tried not to hit him in the head. I'm sure they'll review it."

Well, Mike Pereira, former vice president of NFL officiating, reviewed it and he agrees with Brooks.

"This is *not* an illegal hit on a defenseless receiver," Pereira said. "It's shoulder-to-shoulder, the head is in front. It does lead to a concussion – maybe hit when his head hits the ground, maybe when his head snaps, but this is a legal hit."

Ravens Cheerleader Injured During Titans Game

Ravens players escaped Sunday's game without any serious injuries, but there was a scary moment on the sidelines involving the team's cheerleading squad.

A cheerleader, who has not been identified, was carted off the field and taken to a hospital for precautionary tests on her neck and back. Everything came back clear and she is now recuperating at home, according to the Associated Press.

Per the report, she was thrown into the air and hit the ground while performing a stunt.

"The woman was cleared to leave the hospital and walked out under her own power," the report from the Associated Press indicated. "Team medical personnel stabilized her on the sideline before she was wheeled off the field."

Oher Felt Appreciated By Ravens

It's always nice to see a former Raven return home.

And it's even better when the Ravens beat their former teammate, both on the scoreboard and on individual plays.

Ravens outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil badly beat former Ravens right tackle Michael Oher on this rip move.


But it wasn't easy to go up against his former teammate.

"It was a tough battle as always," Dumervil said.  "I'm sore, it was hard. Michael Oher is a good player, and he competed every play. So, it wasn't easy."

"I didn't get any trash-talking or anything like that," Oher said, per The Baltimore Sun. "I guess they appreciated what I did when I was here."

Yes we did.

Quick Hits

  • Less than a week ago, he didn't have an NFL team. Sunday, he had a game-sealing INT. Cornerback Danny Gorrer talks about his wild week. []
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