A Marked Man

When talking about the Ravens the predominant word that comes up is defense. A unit that set an NFL record for fewest points allowed (16 games) with 165 points and has not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 33 regular season games (37 including playoffs). The last running back to cross the century mark?

The answer, the Bears James Allen, who ran for 163 yards on 23 carries on December 20, 1998 in Chicago's 24-3 win over the Ravens at Soldier Field. Which leaves payback on the minds of the Raven defense.

Allen said he doesn't care about repeating the feat as long as his team comes out the victor. However, Allen doesn't want to be embarrassed either. "I'm not trying to be nobody's example or we you to call it Jordan poster."

Allen has been preparing for the Ravens soon after he found out about his opening test. The Bears defense has been a good run through for Allen, but Baltimore will be the ultimate exam. Chicago has struggled to run the ball in the preseason gaining just under three yards per carry. Allen only carried the ball 11 times for 29-yards.

James "Big Cat" Williams continued the theme that the Bears have been holding back on plays during the preseason. Not necessarily gadget plays, but varied sets such as two tight end formations. The line will need to help to run against the Raven defense, which allowed an average of 60 yards rushing per game.

The offense might receive a boost from WR Marcus Robinson. The receiver, who had back surgery less than six weeks ago, is on the verge starting in the season opener. He was cleared by doctors to practice in pads and cleared to play, but head coach Dick Jauron said it would likely be a game time decision on Robinson.

"We'd love to have a healthy Marcus Robinson," Jauron said. "If we judged he was ready to play we'd definitely put him out there."

Conditioning shouldn't slow Robinson, who returned to full contact practice on Thursday. But his timing in practice and ability to recover from contact drills will determine if he sees action against the Ravens.

"Certain routes I felt stiff coming out of my breaks," Robinson said. "I felt like I couldn't have no push on the deep ball, but that's coming from running, getting practicing, getting your legs back under you."


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