There's a rugged aspect to the New England Patriots' offense, an element beyond a prolific passing game engineered by star quarterback Tom Brady.

Running back Stevan Ridley has gained 196 yards on 39 carries, averaging five yards per carry with one touchdown run.

The 5-foot-11, 220-pound former LSU standout's style isn't fancy. He's a power runner.

"Ridley's a downhill runner, he runs the ball hard," defensive end Pernell McPhee said. "If he sees a hole, he's going to hit it. He ain't looking for cutbacks. He's a north and south runner. He's big enough, but he ain't that big. He just runs hard."

Ridley rushed for a career-high 125 yards in the season opener against the Tennessee Titans, averaging six yards per carry.

It was his first 100-yard game after rushing for 97 yards last season against the Oakland Raiders.

The Patriots felt good enough about Ridley to make him their featured runner and allowed Benjarvus Green-Ellis to depart via free agency with the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Ravens rank 20th against the run, allowing 129 yards per contest.

"He's definitely a downhill guy, but he has some speed," inside linebacker Jameel McClain said. "That's good for the system. He's a pretty good player. They do have that element of power, but I don't see them doing much of it. They have their normal game."

awilson@baltsun.com