Ravens rush defense vs. 49ers running game

It wasn't a good year for the Ravens' normally stout run defense, which allowed 122.8 yards per game in the regular season and has permitted 138.3 per playoff contest. The closest thing that the Ravens have seen to the <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="ORSPT000057" title="San Francisco 49ers" href="/topic/sports/football/san-francisco-49ers-ORSPT000057.topic">49ers</a>' read-option is how the <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="ORSPT000226" title="Washington Redskins" href="/topic/sports/football/washington-redskins-ORSPT000226.topic">Washington Redskins</a> played with <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PESPT0014793" title="Robert Griffin III" href="/topic/sports/football/robert-griffin-iii-PESPT0014793.topic">Robert Griffin III</a>. The Redskins rushed for 172 yards against the Ravens two months ago but three of the Ravens' starting linebackers -- <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PESPT000008622" title="Terrell Suggs" href="/topic/sports/football/terrell-suggs-PESPT000008622.topic">Terrell Suggs</a>, <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PESPT0012395" title="Dannell Ellerbe" href="/topic/sports/football/dannell-ellerbe-PESPT0012395.topic">Dannell Ellerbe</a> and <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PESPT008514" title="Ray Lewis" href="/topic/sports/football/ray-lewis-PESPT008514.topic">Ray Lewis</a> -- did not play in that game. Lewis, who will play in his final game, has said the key to stopping the 49ers' attack is communication.<br>
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During the regular season, the 49ers were fourth in the league in rushing yards per game (155.7) and third in yards per carry (5.1). That has carried over to the playoffs, where San Francisco has racked up 472 yards on the ground in two games. Their "pistol" offense features a lethal combination of Kaepernick's speed, running back <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PESPT0013632" title="Frank Gore" href="/topic/sports/football/frank-gore-PESPT0013632.topic">Frank Gore</a>'s power and vision and offensive coordinator Greg Roman's creativity. The offensive line, which had all five starters get Pro Bowl recognition, is physical and athletic.<br>
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<b>EDGE</b>: 49ers

( USA Today Sports and MCT photos )

It wasn't a good year for the Ravens' normally stout run defense, which allowed 122.8 yards per game in the regular season and has permitted 138.3 per playoff contest. The closest thing that the Ravens have seen to the 49ers' read-option is how the Washington Redskins played with Robert Griffin III. The Redskins rushed for 172 yards against the Ravens two months ago but three of the Ravens' starting linebackers -- Terrell Suggs, Dannell Ellerbe and Ray Lewis -- did not play in that game. Lewis, who will play in his final game, has said the key to stopping the 49ers' attack is communication.

During the regular season, the 49ers were fourth in the league in rushing yards per game (155.7) and third in yards per carry (5.1). That has carried over to the playoffs, where San Francisco has racked up 472 yards on the ground in two games. Their "pistol" offense features a lethal combination of Kaepernick's speed, running back Frank Gore's power and vision and offensive coordinator Greg Roman's creativity. The offensive line, which had all five starters get Pro Bowl recognition, is physical and athletic.

EDGE: 49ers

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Jeff Zrebiec has been with The Sun since 2000 and covered the Orioles from 2005 through 2011. A New Jersey native, he was a 2001 graduate of Loyola University in Baltimore. He also has covered University of Maryland basketball and college lacrosse during his time with The Sun.

Aaron Wilson joined The Baltimore Sun in August 2012 after 11 years at the Carroll County Times. He's entering his 12th year on the Ravens' beat. He has previously covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tennessee Titans. Wilson attended East Carolina University.

Mike Preston has been with The Baltimore Sun since 1983. Prior to becoming a columnist in 2000, he covered the Ravens for four years. Preston is a native of Essex and a graduate of Towson State University, where he played football.

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