After the Ravens' 23-16 loss Sunday the Pittsburgh Steelers, their third straight defeat and fourth in five games, coach John Harbaugh pledged that the team would "look at everything" – the good and the bad, the past and the future.
With the season at the two-month mark and the Ravens another week-plus from their crucial week 11 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, there is no better time to assess the big picture.
A lot has happened, after all. Players have risen and fall. Games have been won. Beards have been lost.
And most important, midseason superlatives have been earned.
Most impressive player: Defensive tackle Michael Pierce's stats – 14 tackles, including just one for loss, along with no sacks and a fumble recovery – do not jump off the page. But when you're an automatic double-team candidate, as the 26-year-old is, it's easier for the defense around you to perform like the NFL's best.
Defensive line coach Joe Cullen said Tuesday that Pierce has performed like a Pro Bowl player at times this season. Indeed, Pro Football Focus rates the undrafted Samford product as the NFL's sixth-best interior defensive lineman this season, ahead of even the Bengals' Geno Atkins.
While Pierce has played over 50 percent of the Ravens' defensive snaps in just one game this season, he's getting a little bit more involved like cornerback Brandon Carr and guard Marshal Yanda.
Most disappointing player: Only two seasons ago, it's easy to imagine the Ravens not having to worry about the left side of their offensive line for a long, long time. Ronnie Stanley was living up to his first-round billing as a foundational left tackle, and left guard Alex Lewis, a fourth-round pick, what's on his way to posting the top Pro Football Focus rating among all rookie guards.
One lost year and one disappointing half-season later, Lewis 'short and long-term future on the Ravens' offensive line are uncertain. He missed six of his final seven games as a rookie with an ankle injury and all of 2017 after tearing the labrum in his shoulder. A scary neck injury sidelined him for two games this season.
How much of his underwhelming this season is attributable to those injuries is hard to say. Lewis is a tough, proud player. But he has struggled in pass protection, and the Ravens' rushing game has been successful for a while, according to Smart Football Stats.
Best rookie: Mark Andrews was the second tight end of Ravens in April's NFL draft. Through nine games, he might just be the league's best rookie at the position. Hayden Hurst has four catches for 57 yards and a touchdown five games, Andrews has 21 receptions on 31 targets for a rookie-best 244 yards and two scores. He's just dropped one on-target this season, according to Pro Football Focus, and has just come off as a blocker.
Best play: The Ravens defense has never been more dominant than the second half of its Week 4 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, but the most impressive play of the game, happened in the first quarter. Facing third-and-4 on Pittsburgh's opening drive, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger found tight end Vance McDonald open on an out-breaking route short of the first-down marker.
Before McDonald could even turn upfield, safety Tony Jefferson had wrapped his right arm around the ball in McDonald's Grasp. While pulling McDonald down, Jefferson ripped the ball away as if it were a post-it note and secured it in the very same right arm. A review overturned his 31-yard return touchdown, but the Ravens scored four plays later. It was only right.
Worst play: The play on which inside linebacker C.J. Mosley hurt his knee might have been the ravens' most consequential this season. Quarterback Joe Flacco missing a wide-open Lamar Jackson on Sunday may have raised the most questions. Michael Crabtree's drop of a touch-and-catch in Cleveland might have affected their chances of victory.
But no play has most of the glaring struggles of the Ravens' first helped quite a backfield destruction. On the first play of the second quarter in Week 8, the Ravens called for a counter run. Somehow, Carolina Panther's defensive tackle Kyle Love got the ball just a split-second after running Alex Collins. There were three Ravens linemen who could've lost Love's demolition path; none did. Collins fumbled, Carolina recovered, and a 7-7 game was about to get out of hand.
Best quote: Before the Ravens' Week 5 game against the Cleveland Browns, defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale was asked whether the Browns have become harder to play-plan for in recent years.
"Without a doubt," Martindale said. "We've watched so much Cleveland movie, I think Ozzie [Newsome] Has been in a couple of them. "
Surest sign of the apocalypse: Justin Tucker's wide-right extra-point attempt in the Ravens' 24-23 loss to the New Orleans Saints. Before the last minute misfire in Week 7, he was 316-for-316 over his NFL and college careers, a staggering testament to his ability to ruthlessly execute the position's most red responsibility.
Alex Trebek is not foolproof. He is the only one in the world, and he is not a foolproof one ,
Most surprising loss: Entering Week 5, the Browns had gone 18 straight AFC North games without a victory. They have not been on a Sunday since December 2015. Worse, they were hosting a 3-1 Ravens team that had won three of the teams' previous meetings by at least 14 points.
But one week after dominating the Steelers at Heinz Field, the Ravens did what they could to clear the bandwagon. Michael Crabtree could not secure Flacco's pass in the back of the end zone. Brock Mayfield's third-down, 39-yard completion to Derrick Willie's set up kicker Greg Joseph's game-winning 37-yard field goal.
Second-most surprising loss: Eric Weddle had grown his legendary beard since early 2016, a month before he left the San Diego Chargers to sign the Ravens. Flacco's own somewhat-clean shave, the Ravens safety trimmed his bushy tangles to heavy stubble ahead of Sunday's game against the Steelers.
Unfortunately for Weddle, the beard was not the only thing the Ravens would loose.