Contributions from pair of backups key Ravens defense

Johnson's forced fumble, Ihedigbo's sack aid Ravens in Sunday's night's 13-10 win vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

November 19, 2012|By Edward Lee

PITTSBURGH — James Ihedigbo and Chris Johnson aren’t household names -- well, maybe the latter is, but we’re not talking about the Tennessee Titans running back -- but the pair of reserves helped the Ravens escape Heinz Field with a 13-10 win against the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday night.

Johnson stripped wide receiver Mike Wallace after catching a 15-yard pass in the first quarter, setting up a 26-yard field goal by rookie Justin Tucker. Ihedigbo sacked quarterback Byron Leftwich to thwart Pittsburgh’s penultimate possession in the fourth quarter.

Johnson had been unemployed since the Oakland Raiders waived him in the offseason. But he signed with the Ravens on Tuesday, two days before cornerback Jimmy Smith underwent surgery to repair a sports hernia.

“I knew when I came in, that was the game plan,” Johnson said. “I was blessed to be out there and be able to play. … That’s why I’m a vet. I came in, and they expected me to play. So I took it to heart, and I went out there and played.”

Ihedigbo, a stalwart on special teams, has been backing up starting strong safety Bernard Pollard, and his value to the team grew when the team placed rookie Christian Thompson on injured reserve Saturday due to a knee injury.

Ihedigbo said his goal is, “Whatever you can do to help the team. It’s about playing team D. Coming out here and getting the win, that’s big. Playing out here, it’s a dogfight the whole entire game. It was a fistfight, and that’s what you want.”

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