The Baltimore Ravens may not have to face starting QB Jay Cutler this weekend but there is another threat in the Chicago Bears backfield that, if not contained, could have a monster day. The Ravens’ Run-Defense returned to it’s former self last Sunday. The question is: can they stop Matt Forte and make the tough run-stop the norm again in Baltimore?
In 2011, when the Ravens’ D-Coordinator was Chuck Pagano, the Defense ranked second in the league against the run but those days are long gone as a new D-Coordinator has stepped in and changed the make-up of this defense. Since Dean Pees has taken over, the Ravens Ranked 20th against the run in 2012, surrendering 122.6 yards per game. This year, as physically horrible as we have looked during earlier games against the run, the Defense has really only giving up 102.6 yards per game, ranking them 10th in the league. Seasoned Ravens’ fans used to a tradition of dominance might not be so accepting of this new average due to the norm being around rush 70 yards per game allowed in the past. I too look at the number and think, they used to pride themselves on the run stop; what happened? Back in 2001, the Ravens had not allowed a 100 yard rusher for more than 50 games. In 2008-2009 both seasons went by with no century mark runner against the team. Talk about dominance.
Matt Forte is looking at the current statistic thinking, this is going to be a solid day for him, however if he looked at Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, he will see Giovanni Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis had a tough day on the ground amassing only 94 yards on 23 carries collectively. Granted, these are 3 different types of runners; however, against the Lions who are ranked just slightly ahead of Baltimore against the run, Forte was only able to collect 33 yards on 17 carries.
It is obvious that John Harbaugh “pulled his belt off” and really got after the Ravens’ D-Coordinator as well as the Defense in order to right the ship. His efforts have paid off as the unit is returning to the former dominance it once had. Look for Forte to be completely miserable on the ground Sunday as Baltimore will be clogging more lanes than traffic on the I-495 Beltway.