By Edward Lee
7:00 AM EST, December 23, 2011
The last time the Ravens and Cleveland Browns met, the Ravens ran for a franchise-record 290 yards with Ray Rice gaining a career-best 204 yards and one touchdown and Ricky Williams rushing for a season-high 76 yards and another touchdown.
That’s why Rice is expecting the Browns to hone their concentration on stopping the run.
“Anybody would after having a game like that,” he said. “We respect them, they respect us. It’s all going to be about execution, but we know that they are going to put a nice edge on their defense, have a safety down, whatever they got to do to get the job done. Nobody is going to line up and let you just run over them. It’s going to be a fight.”
Since that 14-point loss to the Ravens, Cleveland has fared much better against the rush. Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall compiled just 76 yards on Dec. 8, and Arizona Cardinals tailback Beanie Wells was limited to 51 yards.
“[W]e’ve addressed it,” Browns middle linebacker D’Qwell Jackson said during a conference call with Baltimore media. “After that game, we saw some different runs that attacked us, but we kind of know how they’re going to attack us. We figure they will come in to make that game plan easy and just try to run the ball, and guys are aware of it. And then it’s just up to us to hold up to the challenge.”
Ravens coach John Harbaugh declined to say whether the offense would employ a similar strategy when the teams meet this Saturday, but Cleveland coach Pat Shurmur said he is anticipating that very tactic.
“You have a runner like Ray Rice, it makes sense to get him the football,” he said. “In a lot of ways, regardless of how you play offense, an effective running game helps everything go.”
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