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Among an Offensive-Minded NFL, the Ravens’ Defense is an Outlier

October 16, 2018 - 11:01 am

By Joe Schiller

Sunday’s 21-0 shutout win over the Tennessee Titans was nothing short of dominant.

The Baltimore Ravens put on a defensive clinic – totaling a franchise-record 11 sacks and holding Marcus Mariota and company to 106 total offensive yards.

One of the biggest storylines heading into the Week 6 game was facing former defensive coordinator Dean Pees but it was his successor, Wink Martindale, who stole the show. He’s got the Ravens playing their best defensive football through six games this season.

The numbers speak for themselves. On a per-game basis, the Ravens rank first in total yards allowed (270.8), second in total passing yards allowed (188), third in rushing yards allowed (82.8) and first in points allowed (12.8)

The most impressive stat of all: the unit hasn’t given up a second-half touchdown.

We’re not even halfway through the 2018 season yet but those numbers aren’t something to shy away from, especially considering the offensive climate in today’s league. New rules have made it increasingly tough for defenders to lay hits on opposing quarterbacks and ball carriers.

What was once seen as big hits now regularly result in 15-yard penalties and defenses are at an extreme disadvantage. Offenses are putting up record-setting numbers each week but ironically, the Ravens have thrived on the other side of the ball. Take away one half without Jimmy Smith and C.J. Mosley against the Cincinnati Bengals and the numbers above are even better. 

Despite a Nathan Peterman-led Buffalo Bills team in Week 1, the schedule hasn’t been a cakewalk for the Ravens. The Bengals are a much-improved team this year and the Pittsburgh Steelers have a potent offensive attack even without Le’Veon Bell.

The fact that the Ravens were able to hold all six teams scoreless in the second half, including an extra overtime period against the Cleveland Browns, is an impressive feat in itself.

The Ravens’ defense was expected one of the best in the NFL with a bulk of starters returning but they still faced questions heading into the season. The unit has seen players like Brandon Carr, Kenny Young, and Za’Darius Smith among others step up and make notable contributions. Even the change in utilization of Tony Jefferson has shown. He leads the defense with 36 combined tackles after struggling last season.

Instead of giving up second-half leads, they're holding opponents scoreless. 

Upcoming games against the Saints, Bengals, Panthers, Steelers, Falcons, and Chiefs will provide an immense challenge and show this units’ true colors but what we're witnessing so far this season is something special.

It should be treated as such. 

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