The Baltimore Ravens have had few wins this season as they sit at 5-10 after week 16. Arguably the best win of the season for the Ravens came this week against the Pittsburgh Steelers. One of their most complete games as a team, the Ravens got the best of both worlds in beating their division rival while seeing what their young talent has to offer for the future. Head coach John Harbaugh has to be more pleased than most other individual wins in his career when you think about what it means for the entire organization.
With such an outstanding effort on a bad season, it marks some interesting stats and notes that I think you'll find interesting.
Daryl Smith continues to be a beast
Absolutely one of the most under appreciated players in the league, linebacker Daryl Smith gets no credit for being the center of the Baltimore Ravens defense. While the 34-year old is slowing down and has been pulled out of some formations in favor of younger and speedier players, the former Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker is still getting it done.
That was the 11th-career INT for Daryl Smith, who is 1 of 4 active NFL players w/ at least 30 sacks & 10 INTs in a career.— Patrick Gleason (@PMGleason) December 27, 2015
Those two aspects of the game aren't something you'd really associate with Smith. He is typically utilized as a run stuffer and leader of the defense throughout his time in Baltimore. Yet the interception helps him step into a rare group that hopefully will get him more praise.
Kamar Aiken stacking games
We've talked a bit about how great wide receiver Kamar Aiken has been playing. After his 8 catch, 128-yard performance in week 15 against the Kansas City Chiefs, we said that he was only one more game away from tying the Ravens' franchise record for consecutive games with at least 5 receptions. Well 8 more receptions against the Pittsburgh Steelers in week 16 gives him the top spot.
There is one more regular season game to go this year, so Aiken has his shot at going over the franchise record and officially putting himself in the team's record books. For how hard he has worked this year and how well he has done in the face of being the only true receiver on the team for most of the season, Aiken has earned that praise and recognition himself.
Get out the brooms
The rivalry between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens is so great because of how close it is between the teams. Like we mentioned earlier this week, the franchises are so similar and fans hate the other so much that it makes every game fantastic. Part of being so similar in style means that either team just can't regularly beat the other. So much so that a season sweep is a rare event.
Baltimore sweeps Pittsburgh for just the third time in franchise history, also doing so in 2006 & 2011. #Ravens— Patrick Gleason (@PMGleason) December 27, 2015
While the third season sweep comes on a losing and disappointing year for the Ravens, it will only add to the betterment of the rivalry in the future.
The best rivalry in football
If you have any doubt that the Ravens vs Steelers rivalry is tops in the NFL, look at these few notes.
12 of the last 16 Ravens-Steelers games have been decided by 3 points or fewer. #GreatRivalry— Patrick Gleason (@PMGleason) December 27, 2015
There is no doubt that the Ravens have been a bad team this year, mostly due to their defensive performance. Being able to hold one of the highest scoring offenses in the league to one of their lowest point outputs, it just shows that the records mean nothing between these two teams.