By Aaron Wilson
The Baltimore Sun
9:04 AM EDT, October 22, 2013
In the past two weeks, the Ravens' run defense has looked extremely vulnerable against a pair of big, physical rookie running backs.
First, Green Bay Packers second-round pick Eddie Lacy ran for 120 yards on 23 carries during a 19-17 loss in which the Ravens surrendered a total of 140 yards on 30 carries.
Then, the Ravens allowed Pittsburgh Steelers second-round pick Le'Veon Bell to gain a career-high 93 rushing yards on 19 carries. The Steelers rushed for 141 yards on 29 carries, making the total 281 rushing yards allowed by the Ravens in the past two games.
The Ravens have fallen from tied for seventh in rushing defense entering Sunday's game at Heinz Field to 15th overall, allowing 104.3 rushing yards per game. The Ravens rank 14th in total defense, giving up 343 yards per game.
Against the Steelers, defensive linemen Haloti Ngata, Chris Canty and Marcus Spears got stuck to blocks and middle linebacker Daryl Smith got caught up in the flow of the play and didn't react quickly to cutbacks by Bell, a 6-foot-1, 244-pounder from Michigan State.
"We haven’t played as good run defense," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday when asked about the Pittsburgh game. "We haven’t gotten off blocks like we need to. We haven’t tackled all the time as well as we can. We didn’t play very good run defense."