1. Steve Smith, Sr.
LOOKED FOR: We know that Joe Flacco will target Senior often. But the fun stuff might take place when he’s not, particularly when the Ravens run the ball. His blocks just might have a little more juju behind them. And who knows what that might lead to.
SAW: We all witnessed a red-letter day for the 5-time Pro Bowler who turned in a professional day without any extracurriculars. If anything Senior seemed to dial down the emotion in order not to be distracted by the task at hand. Mission accomplished.
2. James Hurst
LOOKED FOR: The rookie UDFA made his first career start in place of the injured Eugene Monroe. Look for Panthers’ head coach Ron Rivera to challenge the rookie with overloads, something that Joe Flacco has a bad habit of ignoring.
SAW: Shockingly Rivera dialed up little in the way of challenging situations for the rookie. Hurst played well and had a quiet day – a positive for a rookie subbing to protect the QB’s blindside.
3. Daryl Smith
LOOKED FOR: The veteran linebacker has been a liability against the run and he’s likely to get a heavy dose of the Panthers’ very capable center Ryan Kalil. Smith is a good cover linebacker but even that part of his game is in decline. Where is Arthur Brown?
SAW: Smith had a forced fumble but for the most part provided little in the way of impactful plays, certainly nothing that warrants keeping Arthur Brown in street clothes…AGAIN! We get the learning curve John Harbaugh & Staff, but Brown is a guy the Ravens claimed to have first-round grades on and he doesn’t even dress now 25% into his second season?
4. Torrey Smith
LOOKED FOR: With the Panthers attention focused on Senior, perhaps this is the day that Torrey gets it going. The Panthers rely on a disciplined zone defense and Smith’s speed could loosen it up with crossing routes in front of the safeties.
SAW: Torrey had 2 catches for 53 yards and a touchdown but was targeted just 3 times. He made a nice adjustment on a hot read just before the 2:00 warning in the first half to haul in a 29-yard pass to the Panthers’ 21. A better throw could have gone for 6. Smith also drew a few pass interference penalties to help move drives along. Not a great day but a step in the right direction for the slumping Smith.
5. Terrell Suggs
LOOKED FOR: At this point in his career he isn’t much more than an overpaid version of Jarret Johnson. Hopefully on Monday I’ll be eating these words but the body of work suggests a player in serious decline. He’ll be matched up often against Panthers’ left tackle Byron Bell.
SAW: Suggs got off the schnide when he called for a meeting at the quarterback, inviting Elvis Dumervil. The result was a first quarter sack to kill the Panthers promising opening drive. Suggs was close on a few other attempts to take down the strong and elusive Cam Newton, registering 3 official QB hurries.