Ravens’ Run Defense No. 17 in NFL

Ray Lewis called for patience as the Ravens finished in the top 10 every year since 2002.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Wednesday, October 27th, 2010 at 11:53 am | Categories: Ryan Mink

Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis is prescribing patience when analyzing his team’s rush defense.

Heading into their bye, the Ravens rank 17th in the NFL, allowing 109.3 rushing yards per game.

It’s atypical in Baltimore, where the Ravens have finished in the top 10 every year since 2002 and in the top five each of the past four seasons.

“I just think you just keep playing,” Lewis said. “That’s one thing about it. It’s never [how] you start, it’s always where you finish.”

Last season, Baltimore ranked seventh in average rushing yards allowed per game heading into its Week 7 bye. That was after Cincinnati’s Cedric Benson broke the Ravens’ 39-game streak of not allowing a 100-yard rusher and Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson did it again the following week. The Ravens finished the year at No. 5.

This year, the Ravens have allowed just one 100-yard rusher as Cleveland’s Peyton Hillis ran for 148 yards in Week 3.

Instead, opponents have found more consistent ground success behind a cast of runners.

For example, the New England Patriots had six different ball carriers run for 127 total yards. They were led by Danny Woodhead’s 63 yards and also had 40 yards combined between receiver Ben Tate and tight end Aaron Hernandez.

Last week, the Bills rushed for 132 yards by getting 73 from Fred Jackson, 33 from C.J. Spiller, 20 from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and six from wideout Roscoe Parrish.

“We were playing hard but we just got out of whack,” linebacker Jarret Johnson said. “It would just be one guy on every play that would make a little mistake and that play would cost us. Then it would be the next guy and it would cost us.”

It hasn’t been a problem of allowing particularly long runs. Besides Hillis’ one 48-yard rush, the longest run against the Ravens this season was 22 yards. The Ravens are tied for 19th in the NFL in average yards allowed per rush (4.2).

Lewis echoed Johnson’s sentiments that only small adjustments are needed after watching film of their game against Buffalo on Tuesday.

“I think it was big to see that,” Lewis said. “Because it’s some things that [are] small that can take a game from getting out of hand, yardage-wise, to being almost a total shutout.”

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