Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pats' newfound run game faces tough test in Ravens


Since 2006, the Baltimore Ravens have finished each season ranked in the top five in run defense.

The New England Patriots are well-aware of it.

New England has been taking advantage of some newfound success on the ground thanks to the emergence of second-year tailback Stevan Ridley. But the Patriots don't expect it to get any easier when they travel to Baltimore to face the Ravens Sunday.

"They’re a very good technique team," Patriots coach Bill Belichick told the media Friday of the Ravens. "... they play well with their hands, they recognize blocks well, linebackers are, it’s hard to fool them, especially [Ray] Lewis, but all of them are disciplined, they don’t give up a lot of easy plays.

"You have to block them, they don’t run themselves out of a lot of plays, they make you block them and you have to do a good job. You have to have good pad level, good technique; you have to finish your blocks, they’re a good tackling team."

New England's offensive line has been subpar, to its standards, in pass protection, which has resulted in a more prevalent ground game. The Patriots' offensive line, however, has been up to that task, paving the way for a league-high 21 first-down runs.

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