Offensive line kept Patriots' Vince Wilfork under wraps

FootballSportsAFCNew England PatriotsVince WilforkMatt BirkMarshal Yanda

After the havoc Vince Wilfork had wreaked in last January’s AFC championship game, the Ravens paid a good amount of attention to the massive defensive tackle, who looks much larger than his listed size of 6 feet, 2 inches and 325 pounds.

That scrutiny paid off as Wilfork made four tackles but didn’t generate much else in the Ravens’ 31-30 win against the New England Patriots Sunday night at M&T Bank Stadium.

Center Matt Birk, who matched up with Wilfork frequently, said he and guards Marshal Yanda and Ramon Harewood – who make up the interior portion of the offensive line – simply worked hard to make sure that Wilfork was accounted for.

“He’s a great player. He’s one of the top guys in the league,” Birk said. “What he does, it’s not just statistically. That doesn’t tell half the story with him and his impact on the game and on the defense. But he’s certainly a great player. You just go out there and fight tooth and nail, and our guys were able to make enough plays in the end to win.”

Added Yanda: “We did a good job collectively as a group. It wasn’t just one guy banging on him. He made some plays, and obviously, he’s going to. But we did enough to get the win.”

In the Ravens’ 23-20 loss in the AFC championship, Wilfork made six tackles – including three for losses – and sacked quarterback Joe Flacco once. That performance was lodged in the back of the Ravens’ minds.

“He was a big game-wrecker for us last time we played him,” Yanda said. “So obviously, we wanted to make sure to contain him as best as we could and block him. There’s really no magical formula for it.”

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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FootballSportsAFCNew England PatriotsVince WilforkMatt BirkMarshal Yanda
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