Hard-hitting Ravens strong safety Bernard Pollard did everything but draw a line in the sand and dare opponents to encroach on his territory.
Angry at the defending AFC North champions allowing a franchise-record 227 rushing yards in a 31-29 win over the Dallas Cowboys and 441 rushing yards combined over the past two games, Pollard is fed up with teams using the Ravens' traditionally stingy defense as a doormat.
"We should be p---ed off together," Pollard said, his voice rising with each statement. "It's to a point now where we have to take a stand, we have to take a stand in what we do. We got to play p---ed off, we've got to. It's a must.
"We got to get the ball back to our offense. We can't ask our offense to go out there and put together these great drives. We can't continue to do that. It's one-sided. We're not helping."
The third-ranked defense in the NFL has fallen on hard times, dropping to 26th in the league in terms of total defense with 396.7 yards allowed per contest.
The Ravens rank 26th in rushing defense (136.5 yards allowed per game) and 22nd in passing defense (260.2 yards per game), but are 11th in points per game (19.7 points allowed per contest) and are tied for fifth in turnover margin with a plus-seven ratio.
Pollard said the blame lies with the players, not first-year defensive coordinator Dean Pees.
"Don't blame the coach," Pollard said. "Don't blame the coach because the coach doesn't play. He's making great calls. It's about us executing. We're not executing. We are tough and physical. Nobody can question the abilities that we have.
"We get penetration in the backfield. We got guys in the backfield many times. We just did not tackle. We did not execute. We take that personal. The coaches have done a great job. They're here all day, every day, putting stuff together to make us play better
"They can't push a button to make us wrap up and tackle. That's on us. We have to come out and play."
Now the Ravens have to square off with Houston Texans star running back Arian Foster, the master of the zone-stretch run and one of the more versatile backs in the game.
"We can't talk about bringing anybody down because Dallas came in here with four or five running backs and we didn't bring one of them down," Pollard said. "So, we understand what we're going against today. Arian is a great back.
"We're putting things together. We got to focus. We've got to go tackle. It's just about being focused and executing. You can't question our toughness. We're playing fast, we're just not executing. We miss tackles. I pride myself on tackling and I did not do a good job of that."
"We have a team where we own it. That's on film. That's us. Two weeks in a row. We had one play where the running back stiff-armed one guy and then stiff-armed another guy and ran for a touchdown. The other guy was me. We got to get guys on the ground."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun