At one point in his career, Ray Lewis captained a defense that didn’t allow a running back to rush for more than 100 yards in 39 consecutive games.
Last week, the Ravens allowed 179 yards in the first half, 125 of which belonged to Jamaal Charles.
In total, the Ravens surrendered 214 rushing yards; however, Lewis will always find a way to turn something negative into positive motivation to help his teammates.
“I’ve been in dogfights like that,” Lewis said. “No one game defines who you are and everybody talks about the yardage – no one is talking about the second half.”
The Ravens defense made appropriate adjustments and found a way to limit the Chiefs rushing attack to 35 yards – Charles to just 15 – during the final thirty minutes.
“What defense comes out and does that? No defense does that,” Lewis said. “When we get ready to make plays in the second half, people get off the field. That’s the key to defense.”
Even though the statistics weren’t pretty for the defense, they ultimately did enough to come out with the most important stat – a win.
“At the end of the day, I guarantee you [Charles] would trade in those yards for a win,” said Lewis. “For us to not give up a touchdown in whatever performance he had, I’ll take it all day long because correcting is the easiest thing for us to do.”
The last game Lewis could remember the Ravens allowing so many rushing yards was in a 30-10 loss against the New York Giants in 2008. In that game, Ahmad Bradshaw rushed for 96 yards on nine carries and Brandon Jacobs had 73 yards on 11 carries along with two touchdowns.
“I think the hardest thing for us to do is get someone to run the ball like that and lose,” he said. “That’s the thing that we were really pissed off [about] a couple of years ago when that happened with the Giants because we gave us some big runs and that’s something we’re not used to giving up.”
The defensive adjustments were enough to help the Ravens squeak out of Kansas City with a 9-6 victory. Above all else, Lewis praised his team’s refusal to quit.
“That’s a 60-minute ball club. That’s somebody who prepares themselves to not worry about all that but to worry about winning the game.”
The Ravens are sure to make appropriate adjustments to try to slow down the rushing attack of the Dallas Cowboys this Sunday. Dallas’s offense has not moved the ball effectively on the ground with DeMarco Murray or any of their other running backs this season.
Through the first four games of the season, the Cowboys have rushed for just 271 yards on 79 attempts, ranking second-to-last in the NFL.
As Lewis has had to do multiple times throughout his career, he’ll just have to move on and look forward to the next game. Many around Baltimore have reacted to the ugly win in Kansas City by saying, “a win is a win,” and are happy to move on.
Lewis is ready to look forward as well.
Until the next adjustment needs to be made…