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Lions' Matthew Stafford, second-most-sacked NFL QB in 2017, is next for Ravens pass rush

After accumulating 14 sacks in the past four games, the Ravens pass rush will face on Sunday an opposing quarterback in the Detroit Lions’ Matthew Stafford who has been taken down 36 times this season, second in the NFL only to the Indianapolis Colts’ Jacoby Brissett’s 43.

But outside linebacker Matthew Judon cautioned against assuming that getting to Stafford at M&T Bank Stadium will be easy.

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“We’re watching it on film, and we also see it, but I think he throws the ball probably third most [actually, fourth] in the NFL,” Judon said after Thursday’s practice. “So sometimes he’s going to take more sacks because he has to hold the ball. If we get one sack, you all are going to be calling us trash because he’s been sacked the second most. So we’ve just got to go out there and do our own thing.”

Willie Henry, known as "Big Earl" in the Ravens locker room, has needed just nine games to go from a guy who couldn't get on the field to an essential cog in the team's defense.

Although Stafford ranks in the top 10 in the league in categories such as touchdown passes (fourth), passing yards (fifth) and passer rating (ninth), he has been sacked at least once in every game thus far. That includes 10 sacks in his past three starts.

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Left tackle Taylor Decker has started the past three games after missing the entire preseason and the first eight games after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. And the run offense is ranked 30th in the NFL and has not featured a 100-yard rusher since Reggie Bush went for 117 on Nov. 28, 2013 — a span of 63 games.

But Stafford refused to blame the lack of a run game.

“I think every quarterback in this league is expected to go out there and play at a high level, and I’m not different,” he said in a conference call with Baltimore media Wednesday. “That’s the way I view it. I just go out there and try to play as at high of a level as I possibly can, and whatever happens with that stuff, it doesn’t bother me. I just go out there and play. I think everybody on our team is fighting tooth-and-nail to make every play a huge success whether it’s a run or pass.”

A Ravens pass rush that is tied for ninth in the league in sacks with 30 has been sparked by rush linebacker Terrell Suggs’ 9½ and Judon’s five. But defensive coordinator Dean Pees said Detroit’s ineffectiveness on the ground will not entice him to call a lot of blitz packages.

“I think sometimes their statistics are skewed with the run game,” he said. “They have two very, very capable runners. We, by no means, are ignoring the running game, and thinking, ‘Oh, we are going to blitz all the time because they are going to pass.’ ”

NOTE: While coach John Harbaugh did not address ESPN play-by-play man Sean McDonough’s comment during Monday’s game about the coaches feeling that quarterback Joe Flacco “hasn’t spent enough time and energy” throwing deep passes, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg recalled one play Monday on which Flacco abandoned a designed long throw because of pressure from outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney. “He threw it underneath, and he’s going, ‘I’m not going to let [No.] 90 [Clowney] wreck this thing,’ and he would have had to hang on to it,” Mornhinweg said Thursday. “So there’s been some of those. I don’t know where Sean got that, but certainly we didn’t talk about it.” …

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