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John Harbaugh critical of Ravens' running game, run defense

The Baltimore Sun

The snapshot of the Ravens' second preseason game, a 27-23 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium, revealed obvious shortcomings in two key areas: run defense and the running game.

During the first half, the Ravens allowed Falcons running back Steven Jackson to easily run up the middle, with 42 yards on eight carries, as Atlanta had 76 yards and a touchdown on 20 first-half carries.

They finished the game with 170 rushing yards on 50 carries, averaging 4.3 yards per run.

The Ravens' running game was stonewalled, limited to 13 rushing yards in the first half on 10 carries as Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice was held to 10 yards on eight carries, a 1.3 average, and dropped for a 5-yard loss by Falcons defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux when center A.Q. Shipley missed a block.

The Ravens managed to finish the game with only 61 rushing yards on 26 carries with a long run of 9 yards by Anthony Allen and a 2.3 average per run as a team.

"We didn't run the ball real well, give credit to their defense, but we didn't run the ball well," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "That was a negative. We didn't stop the run. That's something that has to happen. We have to stop the run. I'm really disappointed because I felt like we'd come out, based on the way we've been practicing, and play a lot better.

"It wasn't the fact that we were getting knocked around. It was the fact that we didn't do a good job of playing team run defense, and you have to do that. One can't be upfield, and one guy can't run behind the block. We're better than that, and I think our guys are so excited to play that they lost track of their fundamentals a little bit. The good news is those are things you can correct overnight, but it has to get done if we're going to be the team that we hope to be."

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