Eager to start new streak, Ravens face Peterson

BY foxsports • October 16, 2009

There's only one thing left for the Baltimore Ravens to do after Cedric Benson ended their streak of 39 straight games without allowing a 100-yard rusher. "Start another one. That's what you do," linebacker Ray Lewis said. "It's not like a free throw, man. Some days you're on, some days you're going to miss. You just move on. The thing for us is to just go back and have fun." The Ravens' next assignment - stopping Adrian Peterson of the unbeaten Minnesota Vikings - appears to be more dangerous than fun. If the Ravens don't fix what went wrong in last week's 17-14 loss to Cincinnati, they won't be starting a new streak but rather will extend to two their run of permitting a 100-yard rusher. "Adrian Peterson is just phenomenal," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "He's hard to attack, he's amazingly fast. You've got to be completely sound in your run defense, and you've got to play great team run defense. You've got to run to the ball, you've got to play great team run defense." The Ravens didn't do that nearly enough against Benson, who ran for 120 yards in becoming the first running back to reach the century mark against Baltimore since Larry Johnson of Kansas City in December 2006. "Technique-wise, we didn't play very well. They gashed us," Ravens linebacker Jarret Johnson said. Peterson has seen the film and hopes to benefit from watching Benson's moves last week. "He was very patient with his runs and his reads. He did a good job of just making that one cut and getting upfield," Peterson said Thursday at the Vikings' training complex. Benson and Peterson rank 1-2 in yards rushing in the NFL, but Peterson is averaging a half-yard more per carry and has an NFL-high seven touchdowns. Stopping him could be the biggest challenge the Ravens have faced thus far this season. "It's going to show how good our defense is," tackle Haloti Ngata said. "We're going to see what our defense is made of." Peterson can't wait to find out. "I wasn't really aware of the streak. I know guys, running backs, really don't go for too many yards against that defense. Sort of like our defense," he said. "But you have those days. Hopefully they have another one." Vikings coach Brad Childress has the option of having veteran quarterback Brett Favre throw the ball, too. Peterson will get his carries, but Childress knows that, last week aside, running against Baltimore is no easy chore. "It's a very stout front seven. It's all dominoes. Everybody's got to play off of everybody else," Childress said. "Knowing Harbs the way I know him, they were always going to be stout against the run." The Ravens were tough against the run long before Harbaugh arrived at the start of the 2008 season. Over the past 57 games, only three players have topped 100 yards: Tennessee's Travis Henry in November 2006, Johnson and Benson. Peterson certainly has the potential to add his name to that list. "This guy is obviously one of the premier running backs in the league. You give him a hole, and he's going take a mile of it," Johnson said. "He's a guy that can hit a home run. We have to play sound defense." Johnson, like Lewis, lamented the end of the streak and eagerly anticipates starting a new one. "We were extremely proud of it. We take a lot of pride around here in stopping the run," he said. "But I'm not going to lose sleep over it. We had a bad game. Guy got 100. The key is what you learn from it and how you bounce back." Ngata agreed, saying, "We're just going to start our streak back over. It's tough to have a person do that to us, but we're going to try to get back to what we do best, stopping the run and hopefully making a team one-dimensional." ---

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