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News » Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2008-10-02

Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2008-10-02

Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2008-10-02
When the Ravens play the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, they know they will have to block the path to the Titans' road success.

Since Titans coach Jeff Fisher took over the team in 1995, the franchise has averaged 123.2 yards rushing on the road, which is third best in the NFL over that time.

"When coaches go into the game plan and say we can run on this team, they're telling you that they are going to out-physical the team," Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said. "That's why it's always personal. Anytime somebody buckles up their chin straps and say we're going to run the ball 30 or 40 times, they're telling you that they feel their offensive line can get to your defensive line and linebackers."

The foundation of the Ravens defense has always been stopping the run.

Since 1999, the Ravens have given up 87.6 yards rushing per game, the fewest in the league. The Ravens have not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 22 straight games, which is the best current streak in the NFL.

"Every new person who comes in here, the first thing I say is, 'There's something we don't do and that's let people run the ball,'" Lewis said. "When the ball is snapped, everybody has to find the football."

The Titans' ground game centers on two running backs.

Rookie Chris Johnson, a 5-11, 200-pound speedster who ran the fastest 40-yard dash (4.24 seconds) at the NFL Scouting Combine, has gained 337 yards on 67 carries. He has scored two touchdowns.

The other back is LenDale White, a 6-1, 235-pound power back who has rushed for 161 yards and five touchdowns on 60 carries.

Asked to compare the two, Ravens linebacker Bart Scott opened up for a few seconds before ending his response with these words: "Let's see -- a fat guy and the fastest guy in the 40. Not fat, I'm sorry. Plump."

The Ravens are hoping to get their own running back on track Sunday.

With a bloodshot left eye and bruised ribs, Ravens running back Willis McGahee has just one goal for Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans.

"Put this in print: I just want to finish a game," McGahee said.

McGahee suited up for the season opener against Cincinnati but remained on the sideline because of a knee injury. In Week 2 against Cleveland, he was limited in the second half after suffering a laceration on his right eyelid and getting poked in the left eye.

On Monday night in Pittsburgh, he received a helmet to his ribs in the second quarter and carried the ball just once in the second half.

McGahee said he considers himself "day to day" with the rib injury.

"I don't want to be out there for the first and second quarter and try to come back for the third and don't finish," McGahee said. "I want to finish a complete game, walking off the field with just a bruise on my arm."

SERIES HISTORY: 18th meeting. Ravens lead series, 9-8. The last time the Ravens played the Titans in Baltimore was January 2004, when Tennessee beat the Ravens, 20-17, in a playoff game. The last meeting was 2006, when the Ravens beat the Titans, 27-26, in Tennessee. Steve McNair's third touchdown pass of the game put the Ravens ahead 27-26 with 3:35 remaining, which was enough time for the Titans to move into field-goal range. But defensive end Trevor Pryce blocked the 43-yard attempt by Rob Bironas with 43 seconds left in the game, preserving the biggest comeback victory (19 points down) in Ravens history.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 2, 2008

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