Harbaugh Feels Good About Run Defense

Pittsburgh RB Rashard Mendenhall has been mostly held in check by Baltimore.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Wednesday, December 1st, 2010 at 10:56 am | Categories: 2010 Season, Ryan Mink, Week 13 vs Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall ran for a career-high 159 yards in Buffalo.

The Ravens are allowing 101.7 rushing yards per game (11th in the NFL) – which would be the team’s most since 2004 if the season finished today.

So should Ravens fans be worried?

“I’ve never been overly concerned about our run defense as much as some other people have,” Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “You know, you watch the tape, I feel good about our run defense. I have all year.”

Mendenhall, who ranks seventh in the NFL in rushing yards and tied for third in touchdowns, has never broken the century mark against the Ravens in five meetings.

He’s averaged 3.2 yards per carry during that span – more than a yard below his career average.

In Mendenhall’s first career start on Monday Night Football in 2008, linebacker Ray Lewis broke his shoulder when the two met in a hole up the middle.

The 5-foot-10, 225-pounder had more success recently, however.

In Week 4′s matchup in Pittsburgh, Mendenhall ran 25 times for 79 yards and a touchdown. His best game came on Sunday night in Baltimore last year, when he rushed 24 times for 95 yards.

Harbaugh said run defense is something the Ravens “pride ourselves on” and that it will be especially key as cold weather and the Steelers descend.

“December, January football – [it's a] huge, huge factor,” Harbaugh said. “If we’re going to win the games and become the team that we want to become, we have to make teams one-dimensional. We have to stuff the run.

“It’s got to start with Pittsburgh. They want to run the ball. It’s going to be very important.”

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