Carroll County Times

Ravens Notebook: Baltimore adjusts to Chiefs ground game

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Kansas City Chiefs' intentions were obvious - run the ball with Jamaal Charles and keep the ball out of the hands of struggling quarterback Matt Cassel.

Even knowing that, the Ravens could do nothing to slow down the speedy Charles - at least in the first half.

Charles had 20 carries for 125 yards during the first half Sunday, becoming just the third player to ever rush for more than 100 yards against Baltimore in the first half.

The second half was a different story, though, as the Ravens limited Charles to just 15 yards on 10 carries during the final two quarters.

He finished with 140 yards on 30 carries.

"We couldn't stop the run in the first half at all," Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said, later adding, "We made an adjustment with all of our fronts - one adjustment - and it just made a big difference for us."

Ravens linebacker Jameel McClain elaborated on what changed during the second half.

"It was about the defense making an adjustment and playing [the Chiefs'] zone scheme the way we were all supposed to play it," McClain said. "They did exactly what we thought they were going to do. The problem within us was that everybody just got caught running [toward one side of the field]. And when you play against a team like that, that works right into their favor because all the running back has to do is cut it back and he'll have a plethora of options for seams."

KRUGER STOUT: Outside linebacker Paul Kruger will be the first to admit that he's still in the process of improving as a run defender, but Sunday was a step in the right direction.

While the rush defense struggled as a whole Sunday, most notably during the first half, Kruger was solid.

He finished with five tackles, three of which were for a loss.

Kruger acknowledged that Sunday's game was "probably" the best he's played against the run this season.

Where did he see the most improvement?

"Setting the edge, being more stout and then being able to get off blocks," Kruger said.

"We knew that's what they were going to come out and do against us," he added. "So all week, that was our biggest focus."

L. WILLIAMS MAKES SEASON DEBUT: Ravens wide receiver/special teamer LaQuan Williams was active for the first time this season.

He had a tackle on the game's opening kickoff.

Williams played in 12 games last year, mostly on special teams, but was inactive for the Ravens' first four games this season.

Rookie safety Christian Thompson was among Baltimore's seven inactives.

Cornerback Asa Jackson, offensive lineman Jah Reid, tight end Billy Bajema, defensive lineman DeAngelo Tyson, outside linebacker Sergio Kindle and defensive lineman Bryan Hall were also inactive for the Ravens.

Starting defensive end Glen Dorsey (calf) and starting free safety Kendrick Lewis (shoulder) were both inactive for the Chiefs.

Dorsey missed his second straight game. Lewis has yet to play this season.

Backup defensive end Ropati Pitoitua (elbow), who was likely to start in Dorsey's place, was sidelined as well.

He had six tackles and two sacks amid Kansas City's 37-20 loss to the San Diego Chargers last week.

Backup running back Peyton Hillis (ankle) and reserve cornerback Jalil Brown were among the Chiefs' other inactives.