Red-Zone Battle Leaning in Ravens’ Favor

The Ravens’ third-stingiest red-zone D could make life tough for Miami’s red-zone woes.

Posted by Mike Duffy on Thursday, November 4th, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Categories: Mike Duffy

The Ravens have been a virtual Fort Knox when it comes to allowing touchdowns from the red-zone this season, and the Miami Dolphins could boost that reputation this weekend when they come to “The Vault.”

Baltimore brings a defense into M&T Bank Stadium that has allowed only seven touchdowns in 19 tries from within the 20-yard line, tied (Pittsburgh Steelers) for third-stingiest in the NFL.

Meanwhile, the Dolphins’ red-zone TD rate of 46.7 ranks 19th, and their seven red-zone touchdowns are tied for the league’s third-fewest, ahead of only Carolina (four) and Chicago (six).

Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh knows how important that balance is.

“They’re going to be very intent on scoring touchdowns if and when they get down there,” he said on Wednesday. “First of all, we’re going to try to keep them out of there. That’s the No. 1 goal. And, if they get in there we’ve got to keep them out of the end zone.

“That will be a big part of the game.”

The Dolphins have managed just seven touchdowns in 15 possessions in the red-zone, which has called kicker Dan Carpenter to duty more than Miami would like.

For his part, Carpenter has been stellar, hitting five field goals in each of his last two games. Still, a steady stream of three-pointers makes things difficult for any team.

“As we get down into that area of the field we’ve had the untimely penalty, we’ve had the miscommunication, we’ve had one of those type of things,” said Miami Head Coach Tony Sparano. “Maybe it’s a double team that left a body in the hole. All these things lead to not-so-good minus plays, I think, in that area of the field.

“When you get down there in that area, you can’t have minus plays to be successful. The defenses are too good.”

The Ravens have set their red-zone mentality from the start of the season.

In fact, Baltimore didn’t allow a touchdown – red-zone or not – until their third game of the year, a 1-yard plunge by Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis.

“It’s just a mentality of not letting anybody in there,” said linebacker Jameel McClain. “Our job is to just keep them out of the end zone.

“But a win is when they walk away with nothing. Our goal is to try to make them walk away without any scores.”

Tags: ,