Ravens regrouping with run defense

The Baltimore Ravens just allowed the first 100-yard rusher in 40 games, and now they face Adrian Peterson, the NFC's leading rusher. What are they saying about Peterson?

After the Ravens gave up their first 100-yard rushing game to a running back in 40 games, linebacker Ray Lewis simply shrugged his shoulders.

"Some days you're on, some days you're going to miss," Lewis said. "You just move on."

The Ravens just happen to move on to play at the undefeated Minnesota Vikings and face dynamic running back Adrian Peterson.

This game could be telling for the Ravens and their run defense. If the Ravens rebound, they will prove that last week was a fluke. If the Ravens surrender another 100 yards, it could reveal cracks in one of the team's long-time strengths.

"Adrian Peterson is a great player. He can hit a home run from anywhere on the field," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "It's going to take great team defense to control Adrian Peterson. Are you going to shut a guy like that down? We're going to sure try. We'll see. It's going to take great team defense to control a player like that. And it's not just him. Their offensive line is really physical. They're very technique-sound, and they get after you pretty good. We've got our hands full."

Asked what he meant by "great team defense," Harbaugh explained by saying, "I think we all have to run to the ball. You can't assume that Adrian Peterson's tackled. You can't assume that someone, because they've wrapped him up, he's down. You have to get multiple helmets on him and wrap him up at all times."

Peterson leads the NFC with 481 yards rushing, averaging 4.9 yards per carry. He also leads the NFL with seven rushing touchdowns.

Veteran center Matt Birk blocked for Peterson in 2007 and 2008 before joining the Ravens this season.

"He's a special guy," Birk said. "Those players, no matter what position they play, physically, they are extremely talented. But mentally, they have that attitude that they can do it. He certainly believes that. He's certainly proved that he can do it."

The last time the Ravens allowed 100-yard rushers in back-to-back games was 2005.

After giving up 120 yards rushing to Cincinnati's Cedric Benson, the Ravens dropped from first in run defense to fourth. They are allowing 76 yards rushing per game.

SERIES HISTORY: 4th regular-season meeting. Ravens lead series 2-1. This marks the Ravens' first trip to Minnesota for a regular-season game. The teams haven't met since 2005, when the Ravens beat the Vikings 30-23. Kyle Boller threw three touchdown passes — all on third downs — hitting Todd Heap for 6 yards, Mark Clayton for 47 yards and Derrick Mason for 39 yards.

BY THE NUMBERS: 8 — Consecutive road games in which quarterback Joe Flacco has thrown at least one touchdown pass.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't know what it's going to be like. I'm not really into trying to predict it or anything like that. Obviously, there are other things I'll be focused on. Things I can't control, I can't control. I'm not going to worry about it." — Ravens center Matt Birk on what he expects from the Metrodome crowd when he returns to Minnesota, where he grew up and played his entire NFL career before joining the Ravens.

NOTES

  • TE Todd Heap has 27 catches for 322 yards and four touchdowns in five games against the NFC North.

  • LB Ray Lewis has 26 tackles in two meetings with the Vikings.

  • LB Terrell Suggs has 30 tackles, 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble in three games against the NFC North.

  • WR Derrick Mason has 28 receptions for 338 yards and two touchdowns in four games against Minnesota.

  • QB Joe Flacco needs two more touchdown passes to tie Tony Banks for third on the Ravens' all-time list.

  • RB Willis McGahee rushed for 78 yards and one touchdown in his only game against Minnesota.


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