Roquan Smith Trade "One of the Best Deadline Trades" in Recent Memory
Since trading for linebacker Roquan Smith on Oct. 31, the Baltimore Ravens are 4-1 thanks in part to the two-time All-Pro's contributions.
On Sunday, he elevated the playmaking further, snagging his first interception in a Ravens uniform and notching his second sack as Raven, helping to lead the Ravens to a 16-14 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
His play since becoming a Raven has The Ringer’s Benjamin Solak calling the Ravens' trade for Smith as "one of the best deadline trades in recent memory," and he's not alone in recognizing Smith's impact.
The Baltimore Sun’s Childs Walker gave props to Ravens General Manager Eric DeCosta for the trade.
"The ultimate payoff for [DeCosta's] choice remains to be seen, but man, it's looking good right now, with Smith giving a talented defense that extra something almost every week," Walker wrote. "The Ravens have scored a total of 39 points over their last three wins. As we saw in Jacksonville, they have almost no margin for error when their defense falters. Smith has kept them on the right side of that margin the last two weeks."
Pressbox’s Bo Smolka also gave credit to the Ravens for the trade, and Smith for the immediate impact in the vaunted rivalry.
"Smith, acquired by the Ravens at the trade deadline, wasted no time assimilating into the physical nature of this rivalry," Smolka wrote. "He tossed Steelers starting quarterback Kenny Pickett to the turf with a first-quarter sack that sent Pickett into the blue medical tent and, later, out of the game."
DeCosta's biggest free-agent acquisition this offseason, safety Marcus Williams, also made his presence (and return to the field) felt, as he also grabbed an interception with the Steelers threatening to score.
Return of Franchise Talents Fuels Victory
Big additions were made this weekend to the Ravens' roster as they saw the return of left tackle Ronnie Stanley, running back J.K. Dobbins and Williams.
Though the team was without Lamar Jackson, many recognized these additions as big gets before the game on Sunday. At its end, they were proven correct, with media praising all three players for their contributions on Sunday.
"Behind a rejuvenated rushing attack with J.K. Dobbins and Ronnie Stanley back in the lineup, the Ravens grinded away over 200 yards on the ground," Platko wrote.
NFL.com’s Nick Shook: "With Lamar Jackson out of the lineup, Baltimore's lead back picked a perfect day to return to form. Dobbins powered the Ravens' offense throughout the afternoon, ripping off a 44-yard run to set up his own 4-yard touchdown for Baltimore's only trip to the end zone all day."
Sports Illustrated’s Mitch Goldich: "Dobbins was the most efficient part of the offense, running the ball 15 times for 120 yards and supplying the only TD on a four-yard score in the first quarter… It was a huge win to keep pace with the Bengals at 9–4 and preserve a two-game cushion in the wild-card race, buying time for Jackson's return."
Multiple media members noted Dobbins looked excellent in his return, but that he didn't look 100% out there seeing as he was caught from behind on his 44-yard run. After the game, Dobbins said he needs to "get back in shape."
Ravens Players Have Fun With Terrible Towels, Renegade
After losing four straight against the Steelers, the Ravens had their fun at Acrisure Stadium Sunday.
After linebacker Patrick Queen's interception of Steelers quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, he and the defense rallied to the end zone and did their own mock terrible towel swing in front of the Steelers home crowd.
Media Notes Questionable Officiating in Ravens-Steelers
On Sunday, there were some questionable and also peculiar calls made by the officiating crew.
The most notable being an unnecessary roughness call on cornerback Marcus Peters, who retaliated after being shoved from behind Steelers offensive lineman Chukwuma Okorafor. Walker didn't agree with the flag going solely on Peters for his response to Okorafor's actions.
The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec still put fault on Peters for the flag, however.
There was a simultaneous fumble recovery, simultaneous pass interference on cornerback Marlon Humphrey and Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson, and a momentum ruling on the Williams interception which placed the Ravens at their 1-yard line as opposed to the 20. There was also the return of a questionable roughing the passer call on defensive end Justin Madubuike.