Carroll County Times
Carroll County

Ravens Notebook: Pass rush fuels dominant defensive performance

BALTIMORE - Unleashing a variety of different pressure packages devised by defensive coordinator Dean Pees, the Ravens' pass rush tormented a New York Giants offensive line that entered Sunday as the NFL's best at protecting the quarterback.

Baltimore finished with three sacks and nine quarterback hits against an offensive line that had yielded a league-low 16 sacks entering Sunday.

Aided by the pressure, the Ravens limited Pro Bowl quarterback Eli Manning to just 150 yards through the air. Manning completed only 14 of his 28 pass attempts.

"We couldn't get anything going," Manning said. "The Ravens did a very good job on defense. They put a lot of pressure on me, and they gave us a lot of different looks. They made it hard for us."Defensive lineman Haloti Ngata, linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo and safety Omar Brown each had sacks for the Ravens and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe had another sack that was called back as a result of a questionable offsides penalty on outside linebacker Terrell Suggs. Six different Baltimore defenders had at one least one quarterback hit, including Ayanbadejo, defensive lineman Arthur Jones and safety James Ihedigbo, who each had two.

"I think [it was] just good individual pass rushes," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We had a few really good pressure schemes that happened to hit the protection the right way. So, that was a plus for [defensive coordinator] Dean [Pees] and our coaches. They did a nice job scheming it up. Beyond that, our guys had some good individual rushes."Defensive tackle Terrence Cody credited Pees as well.

"He put in a lot of packages, some different looks for the offense and we took advantage and executed," Cody said.

ELLERBE RETURNS: Ellerbe was active Sunday after missing the previous three games as a result of the right ankle injury he suffered against the San Diego Chargers in Week 12.

Ellerbe recorded a team-high five tackles and helped lead a defensive effort that limited a potent Giants offensive unit to just 186 yards of total offense.

New York had gained just 106 yards and five first downs prior to a late scoring drive that began with it trailing 33-7 with less than eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

BIG PLAYS: Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco completed five passes that went for gains of 21 yards or longer Sunday and running back Bernard Pierce broke off a late 78-yard run to set up a Justin Tucker field goal.

The Ravens now have 63 plays of 20 yards or longer this season, a new team-record.

Flacco was 25-of-36 for 309 yards and two scoring passes Sunday. Wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith combined for 181 yards on 12 catches.

Smith caught a 6-yard touchdown to cap Baltimore's first offensive possession and had a 43-grab on the team's next drive to set up a Flacco 1-yard scoring run.

NEW CAREER-HIGH FOR FLACCO: With his yardage output Sunday, Flacco established a new career-high for passing yards in a single-season.

With his 309 yards Sunday, Flacco has now thrown for 3,783 yards through the first 15 games of this season. His previous career-best for passing yards in a season was 3,622 in 2010.

NO LINGERING EFFECTS: Just a week after sustaining concussions against the Denver Broncos, Smith and Pierce both had big games against the Giants.

Smith hauled in five catches for 88 yards and a score after tallying just five catches for 68 yards in the previous three games combined.

The physical Pierce ran for a career-best 123 yards on 14 carries, part of a Ravens rushing attack that compiled a season-high 226 yards on the ground.

INACTIVES: Safety Bernard Pollard missed his second straight game after aggravating the painful rib injury he's played through since Week 2 during the Ravens' loss to the Washington Redskins two weeks ago.

Outside linebacker Albert McClellan (thigh) and wide receiver Tandon Doss (ankle) were inactive as well.

Guard Bobbie Williams, defensive lineman Bryan Hall, offensive lineman Ramon Harewood and wide receiver/return specialist Deonte Thompson were healthy scratches for Baltimore.