After Giants debacle, Ravens making run at redemption

November 21, 2008|By MIKE PRESTON

The memories of last weekend won't go away easily. Those long runs by the New York Giants running backs are lodged in the heads of the Ravens like a nagging headache.

And they won't go away until Sunday, when the Ravens play the Philadelphia Eagles at M&T Bank Stadium.

"What do I think of what happened last week? It sucks," Ravens defensive tackle Justin Bannan said. "Of course, we take it personally. Some things that happened were very uncharacteristic of our defense. They had a couple of big runs. We've got to get those corrected. We needed to fix some things."

There is still a lot of hurt pride and crushed egos in the Ravens' locker room after the 30-10, humbling loss to New York in which the Ravens surrendered 207 rushing yards.

Since the franchise's Super Bowl win in January 2001, the Ravens have prided themselves in having one of the NFL's best defenses. Nobody ran on the Ravens. Nobody.

Until Sunday. Brandon Jacobs ran for 70 yards in the first quarter. Ahmad Bradshaw had 96 for the game.

Ouch.

"No, no, that is not supposed to happen here. I think that has happened like one time since I've been here," said Haloti Ngata, the Ravens' third-year defensive tackle. "After the game, there were a lot of upset people. We look forward to playing again Sunday. We want to make sure that never happens again."

But what exactly happened?

According to Bannan and Ngata, the Ravens became undisciplined. Instead of carrying out their usual assignments, they tried to do other things. In other words, outside linebackers and ends who were supposed to contain crashed and allowed cutback runs.

While in pursuit, some players took poor angles and got out of their lanes, which allowed for more open seams.

So, did the Ravens get caught up in the hype of playing the defending Super Bowl champions and the team with the NFL's No. 1 rushing offense?

"We just didn't do our jobs. We didn't come out and play our defenses like we usually play them," Bannan said.

Ngata said: "You have to give their running backs some credit. We missed a lot of tackles, and we didn't wrap up. They did a good job of running through our arm tackles."

One thing the Ravens won't admit is that they got blown off the ball by a physical Giants offensive line. Oh, no. There is way too much pride on the Ravens for that to happen.

But what we saw Sunday was a Giants offensive line that beat the Ravens off the ball. They got into their blocks and stayed engaged 3 to 4 yards down the field. There were few times you saw the Giants off their feet.

With the Eagles on Sunday, the Ravens face a running game that is ranked No. 26 in the NFL. Offensively, the Eagles are more finesse than the Giants, and they like to throw more.

But the Eagles have a big offensive line. Tackles Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan weigh 335 and 330 pounds, respectively. Guards Todd Herremans and Max Jean-Gilles are a combined 679 pounds.

"Big, that's all I can say about them," Bannan said. "Big."

The Eagles won't be as technically sound as the Giants, but they are just as physical up front. The Ravens have to get back to being just as technically sound as they are physical.

No more blown assignments.

There was a negative attitude in the Ravens' locker room this week. There was the obvious disappointment of a loss, but nasty, ornery sentiments still lingered for a team that had its heart torn out a week ago.

The Ravens can't wait until Sunday.

"You definitely want to get that sour taste out of your mouth," outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "We've just got to be patient and wait for Sunday to get here. We've got to take the necessary steps from Wednesday to Sunday. You can't win the game today. We're going to do our best and wait for Sunday to get here."

Outside linebacker Jarret Johnson said: "We haven't lost a game like that in a long time. So we're really anxious to get back out there and play some football. I think we always have a chip on our shoulders. I do. We're definitely anxious to get back out on the field. We didn't play real well on Sunday. So we're anxious to get back on the field and play the way we know we're capable of playing."

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