Most Outstanding Player
Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. A one-man wrecking crew on the Ravens' defensive front, Ngata is not only the most dominant defensive player on the Ravens but perhaps the NFL. He leads the Ravens with four sacks and ranks third in tackles. How impressive has Ngata been this season? He is fourth on the latest NFL MVP list by Sports Illustrated's Peter King.
Most Valuable Player
Middle linebacker Ray Lewis. While Ngata has been the team's best player, the Ravens might not be 5-2 without Lewis. He made the game-clinching interception in Pittsburgh and forced the game-turning fumble in overtime against Buffalo. The Ravens can still count on the 35-year-old linebacker when the game is on the line.
Free safety Ed Reed. After spending the first six weeks of the regular season on the physically-unable-to-perform list, Reed came back in style last Sunday against Buffalo, making two interceptions and forcing a fumble. He made an immediate impact for a defense that had intercepted a total of three passes in the six games without the six-time Pro Bowl safety.
Offensive tackle Jared Gaither. After missing nearly all of the offseason workouts with a foot injury, Gaither was carted off the field on the first full day of practice at training camp with ice on his back. After being sidelined for eight weeks with a slight tear in his thoracic disc, Gaither practiced for one day before having another setback. The Ravens' patience finally wore out Oct. 23, when the team placed Gaither on injured reserve.
Coming back in Pittsburgh. Down 14-10 with 68 seconds left and no timeouts remaining, Joe Flacco drove 40 yards down the field on four pinpoint passes. His 18-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Houshmandzadeh completed Flacco's first win at Heinz Field and his finest game-winning drive.
Falling at New England in OT. Sure, the loss at Cincinnati hurt because it was an AFC North game. But the 23-20 defeat at Foxborough was more painful. The Ravens let a 10-point lead – and control of the conference -- slip through their hands in the fourth quarter. That victory would have given the Ravens road wins against the top three teams in the AFC ( New England Patriots, New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers).
Quarterback Joe Flacco. In his first two games, Flacco threw one touchdown and five interceptions. In his last five, he has nine touchdowns and one interception. Since Week 2, Flacco has the second-best quarterback rating in the NFL (105), trailing only Kansas City's Matt Cassel (108.9).
Cornerback Fabian Washington. In Week 5, Washington looked like one of the NFL's top cornerbacks, breaking up four passes (which tied a career high) against the league's top-ranked passing attack. Two weeks later, he looked like one of the NFL's worst, getting burned by Buffalo's Lee Evans for three touchdowns.
Game-winning touchdown pass to Houshmandzadeh. The score was set up by the previous play, a 10-yard out to the right sideline. Then, Flacco pump-faked to his right – making it seem like he was going to Houshmandzadeh on the same exact route – and Pittsburgh cornerback Bryant McFadden bit on it. With the Ravens picking up the blitz on the left side, Flacco had enough time to wait for Houshmandzadeh to run free upfield and throw a perfectly thrown strike to him.
Throwing to Ngata on fourth down. It was debatable whether the Ravens should have gone for it in fourth-and-goal early in the first quarter against Denver. But it was extremely questionable for the Ravens to throw the ball to Ngata in that situation. Not only did the Ravens fail to get any points, Ngata injured his knee on the play.
Ray Lewis on the Jets' Dustin Keller. In an era where every hit is now scrutinized, Lewis' blow to the New York Jets tight end was legal and devastating. Lewis drove his right shoulder into the chest of Keller, who was leveled to the ground. Lewis later described his fourth-quarter hit of Keller, saying, "it's like a quarterback throwing a big touchdown."
New England's Brandon Meriweather on Todd Heap. The Patriots safety launched himself to deliver a helmet-to-helmet hit on Heap, an illegal blow that has since become the NFL's textbook example of what not to do on the football field. Heap only missed a handful of plays, but he still feeling the effects of a neck injury.
Fullback Le'Ron McClain. His retaliation push on Patriots linebacker Jermaine Cunningham in overtime stalled the team's last series of the game and gave advantageous field position to New England for the eventual game-winning drive.