After they uncharacteristically allowed 129 rushing yards in their season-opening win over the
But the Ravens have spent the last three weeks watching footballs whiz past their ears and into the arms of receivers. Only three teams have been victimized for more passing yards than the Ravens, who rank 23rd in the
"It's nothing really schematic. We're playing the same defense we've played," coach
In their last three games, the Ravens allowed opponents to gain just 2.7 yards per carry, which partially explains why teams have resorted to exploiting them through the air. But Sunday at
Ravens players say they have learned from mistakes made in the Cincinnati game, particularly from a first half in which they struggled to slow down
The following week, the Ravens were much more disciplined. They missed at least 10 tackles, but they swarmed
A week after that 24-23 loss,
In last Thursday's win,
"Our front seven is really starting to get back to form," linebacker
Limiting the damage done by Charles, who averages a 5.8 yards per carry, would be further evidence of that, and the Chiefs also have running backs
A year removed from a left knee injury that ended his 2011 season after five quarters, Charles has sprinted to 415 rushing yards — impressive considering the Chiefs have yet to hold a lead this season — on 72 carries while adding a pair of meandering touchdown runs to his highlight reel.
Charles got just 22 carries in the first two weeks, but in Week 3, he rushed for 233 yards and a touchdown while also catching six passes for 55 yards as the Chiefs erased an 18-point deficit before beating the
"Obviously, last year with the injury, the guy is coming out to prove he's an elite back in this league again," said running back
As the Ravens prepare for the Chiefs, Harbaugh's staff has cued up Charles' 91-yard touchdown run against the Saints to hammer home a coaching point about the need to set the edge and funnel Charles, a dangerous runner in the open field, back into the teeth of the Ravens defense.
After taking a handoff from embattled quarterback
"Straight speed, man," said Lewis, who leads the Ravens with 33 tackles. "[He's] one of those guys that are home run hitters. If you let him get in the open field -- you saw it last week against the [New Orleans] Saints -- you jump out of a gap here or there, one seam, and he's out of the gate. We saw this guy before, we've played him before, and we know what we're up [against]."
The last time they saw him in a meaningful game was the
But the Ravens, who have ranked in the top five in run defense every season since 2006, look a lot different defensively than they did two seasons ago. In some ways, they don't even resemble the stout unit from the 2011 season, and it goes beyond their struggles against the pass.
Reliable run defenders
"Even though there is new faces in the defense, as every week and every game goes by, everybody gets comfortable with who they are playing with," new starting nose tackle