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Shorthanded in the secondary, the Ravens got a much-needed, solid performance from Haruki Nakamura in Monday's 10-9 win over the Jets. A safety by definition, Nakamura played in the slot in the nickel defense all night and held Jerricho Cotchery to two catches and 18 yards out of five balls thrown his way.

Namakura saw his contribution in the bigger picture of the defense.

"We only had seven guys [active] as defensive backs," he said. "We were very limited. We have guys that can play any position, including safety. Every person plays a role and you're asked to do a job, and you've got to step up and do it."

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Nakamura played nickel against the Giants and Rams in the preseason and has grown comfortable in the role.

"It's one of those things," Nakamura said. "I'm a very competitive person. When I get a challenge like that, my level of game [rises]."

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Nakamura, who spent the offseason rehabbing a badly broken ankle, said it was the kind of game the Ravens expected to play.

"There's always a lot of contact in the Pittsburgh-Ravens game," he said. "But this game was a very physical football game. ... We knew what kind of game we were going to play. It was going to be a hard-hitting game. We knew it was going to be a low-scoring game. It was just waht kind of composure we were going to push the game with. With all the veteran leadership that we had in the game, the young guys are starting to grow up. … We're a very mature group and it shows in this type of game."

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