Ravens' defensive coordinator Dean Pees' creative tendencies drew praise from his players, and coach John Harbaugh.
With Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata sidelined with right knee and right shoulder injuries, Pees drew up a "dollar package," that utilized two defensive lineman, three linebackers and six defensive backs during a 55-20 blowout win over the Oakland Raiders.
The first-year defensive boss switched up his personnel Sunday, having 6-foot-2, 270-pound rookie outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw line up at defensive tackle to take advantage of his superior quickness.
"They've been very creative," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "They’ve been very creative to find pressure. They’ve been very creative to change up the coverages. They’ve done a really good job of mixing some fronts up and putting some guys in different spots to account for some of our personnel issues."
A second-round draft pick from Alabama, Upshaw finished the game with four tackles, one for a loss and one pass deflection.
"Here’s our top pick, our defensive player that we picked as our first pick, and he’s played a number of different positions," Harbaugh said. "Obviously, he’s been getting better every single week. He’s a smart football player. He’s a physical football player. To me, he’s a reflection. He’s kind of the guy you look to. But, it wasn’t just him. We played a lot of guys in different positions in this game. So, for them to know their assignments and to execute them the way they did was a real positive for us.”
The Ravens did allow 422 yards of total offense, though, while also generating three sacks and one interception.
"Obviously, we didn’t have the yardage result we probably wanted.," Harbaugh said. "We’re a little disappointed with some of the yardage things. We didn’t want to give up those yards, and it was really five plays that accounted for most of their yards. I thought our guys did a great job creatively coming up with ideas to get them stopped.”