Ravens tight end Owen Daniels steps up at the right time

Steelers' Bell a powerful weapon; Dumervil back in form; Asa Jackson hurt

September 11, 2014|By Aaron Wilson | The Baltimore Sun

Just a few weeks ago, Ravens veteran tight end Owen Daniels' status was very much in doubt.

When a chronic hamstring problem sidelined the two-time Pro Bowl selection for the majority of the preseason, Daniels insisted that he knew how his body was responding and was adamant that he would be just fine.

Daniels is looking mighty accurate in his self-assessment. He caught a pair of touchdown passes Thursday night in a 26-6 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in a key AFC North game at M&T Bank Stadium.

After absorbing a tough hit in the third quarter, the 31-year-old celebrated by exuberantly beating his chest.

"I think that's just the icing on the top," Daniels said. "We put great drives together. To get us down to that goal line, I just happened to be that guy to score that touchdown. Huge offensive effort, a lot of guys contributing."

Daniels caught his first touchdown pass in the first quarter to open the scoring during the Ravens' key AFC North game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Daniels was left alone in the left corner of the end zone on his 2-yard touchdown catch as quarterback Joe Flacco lobbed it to him after delivering a convincing play-action fake to catch the defense off guard.

Daniels has provided valuable depth behind starter Dennis Pitta with eight receptions for 63 yards through two games. By the third quarter Thursday, Daniels had five receptions for 28 yards following his second touchdown catch from 1 yard out.

"Owen made some tough catches over the middle for me where he got popped," Flacco said. "He held onto the ball, and got fired up."

Daniels was limited to five games last season due to a broken leg with the Houston Texans, catching 24 passes for 252 yards and three touchdowns.

Signed to a one-year, $1 million contract in the spring, Daniels entered Thursday night with 389 career receptions for 4,651 yards and 29 touchdowns in nine NFL seasons.

Daniels' familiarity with offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak's system appears to be paying dividends.

"I'm very familiar with it," Daniels said. "It made it a lot easier coming in here with coach Kubiak. Knowing the offense as well as I know it, I think it's my ninth year running coach Kubiak's offense. It's kind of nice having guys have to communicate with me, me being the new guy and me being a little bit of a tutor out there. The guys have caught on very well.

"Coach Kubiak likes to run two tight end sets. We did a decent amount of three tight end sets out there and mixed up formations and personnel groupings. The more a defense has to prepare for, the easier it makes it for us. That was kind of the signature of a Kubiak game plan."

Le'Veon Bell has 'got it all'

Ravens middle linebacker Daryl Smith has built a thorough scouting report on powerful Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell.

Bell is quickly emerging as one of the top young runners in the NFL.

"Le'Veon is a very tough running back," said rookie linebacker C.J. Mosley, who recorded nine tackles. "He's a powerful runner, and he's got speed and good hands working for him. If you don't square up on him, he'll run you over. I think we did a pretty good job of containing him."

The 6-foot-1, 244-pounder from Michigan State kept the chains moving for the Steelers on Thursday night with seven runs for 33 yards in the first half. That included a dynamic 21-yard run where he punished defenders. He also caught two passes for 22 yards, including a 19-yarder by halftime.

"He's got a lot of things going for him," Smith said. "I respect him a lot."

Bell finished the game with 59 yards on 11 carries and caugth five passes for 48 yards.

"By the way this game was going, we couldn't run the ball that much," Bell said. "So, we really couldn't establish the run like we wanted to."

During Bell's rookie season, the versatile three-down back generated 166 rushing yards in two games against the Ravens last season.

"Turnovers and penalties really killed us," Bell said. "We just need to go back to the drawing board and clean up some things and see what we did wrong."

Asa Jackson injured

Ravens cornerback Asa Jackson left the game in the second quarter with a concussion after starting his first NFL game.

Jackson was diagnosed with a concussion under the NFL concussion testing protocol that involves neurological testing.

"Asa had a concussion, and I don't think it's too major," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "Again, you never know with those two things."

Offensive guard Kelechi Osemele sustained a foot-ankle injury, but finished the game and said he was fine afterward.

Jackson started in place of Chykie Brown, who replaced him in the lineup after the injury. Brown was beaten by Cincinnati Bengals All-Pro wide receiver A.J. Green for the game-winning touchdown on Sunday.

Jackson walked off the field under his own power after being attended to by trainers. He headed immediately inside to the locker room where he was diagnosed with a concussion.

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