Larry Johnson got stonewalled repeatedly, swarmed by defenders and left with nowhere to run as he attempted to find a hole in the Baltimore Ravens’ front seven.
Ultimately, the Washington Redskins’ former Pro Bowl runner was unsuccessful as he gained only four yards on eight carries Saturday night.
Clinton Portis didn’t fare much better during the Ravens’ 23-3 preseason win over the Redskins at FedEx Field, rushing for 14 yards on two carries with Willie Parker losing a yard on his lone carry.
One week removed from allowing an uncharacteristic 142 rushing yards against the Carolina Panthers, the Ravens constructed a road block against the Redskins and held them to a measly 25 rushing yards on 14 carries..
“We played a hell of a game upfront,” rookie defensive tackle Terrence “Mount” Cody said. “The linebackers played well, but especially as a defensive line, we played a hell of a game upfront.”
The Ravens held the Redskins to 1.8 yards per carry.
All week, the coaching staff emphasized turning around the run defense.
“We had a focus on stopping the run,” defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said. “We did much better than the last game.”
The numbers are possibly a bit inflated since the Ravens allowed 365 passing yards and Washington abandoned the run.
Nonetheless, it’s indisputable that Terrence Cody, Haloti Ngata and the Ravens’ linebackers were running to the football and pushing back the line of scrimmage.
“How many yards did they have rushing?” inside linebacker Jameel McClain said. “It definitely was a focus and something for us to do as the linebackers and the d-line. The d-line did a great job, and we just played off them and played downhill ball.”
Between Cody (6-foot-4, 350 pounds), Ngata (6-foot-4, 350 pounds), Kelly Gregg (6-foot, 320 pounds) and All-Pro middle linebacker Ray Lewis, the Ravens should be extremely stout against the run.
“They got a couple yards here and there, but we stayed strong,” Ngata said. “They got a couple yards here and there, but we stayed strong as a front. We wanted to make sure that they knew they weren’t going to run on us. I think we did pretty well. Even our second team did well in the second half, and it was a pretty good thing to see.”
Afterward, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan couldn’t say much other than to compliment the Ravens’ run-stopping prowess.
“They did a good job upfront,” Shanahan said. “Their defensive front is very good and the reasons why they will be one of the top two or three run defenses in the league.”