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Ravens Defense Is Treating Shutouts Like a No-Hitter: Don't Talk About Them

Posted Nov 23, 2017

Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said the Ravens will take a 35-34 win if that's what's required. Safety Eric Weddle said the unit is entering each game with the intention of winning it on defense.

There’s one topic of conversation that won’t be broached at the table in Terrell Suggs’ house this Thanksgiving.

No talk about the Ravens’ shutouts.

“It is like the no-hitter,” Suggs said Wednesday. “This is the NFL. You want to play well every week, especially on defense. We aren’t thinking about [shutouts]. Seriously. We’ll take the win; 35-34 is good for us.”

According to ESPN, the Ravens are just the fifth team in the past 30 years to record at least three shutouts in a season. Three of the previous four – the 1991 Washington Redskins, 2000 Ravens and 2003 New England Patriots – won the Super Bowl.

The Ravens have five wins this year. Three of them have come via shutout (Week 1 in Cincinnati, Week 8 versus Miami and Week 11 in Green Bay).

“It’s crazy, right?” safety Eric Weddle said. “It so rarely happens. In my 11 years, I think I can count on one hand how many shutouts I’ve been a part of. And three this season. A lot goes into it.”

Weddle laid out some of the things that have to go right for a shutout to occur. First of all, it takes a defense that can dominate. The Ravens have proven they have that.

But it also often requires a tight game for much of the day so the opposing offense doesn’t just start throwing every down and the defense is happy to concede yardage in exchange for time off the clock.

Also, a defense typically has to make some key late-game fourth-down stops – perhaps multiple times either on downs or with turnovers.

“You sure appreciate the work and the effort that it takes to get a shutout,” Weddle said. “I don’t know if it’s the standard, but we know our potential if we give everything we have one play at a time.”

Baltimore’s offense made some small improvements coming out of the bye, even without franchise left tackle Ronnie Stanley (concussion) on the field. The Ravens still rank 31st in the league in offense, and while there’s definitely hope for growth, the team’s sixth-ranked defense is clearly the stronger unit.

Thus, Weddle said the defense is putting the team on its shoulders as it looks to make a final six-game push to get into the playoffs.

“Instead of being in the game, we need to win the game,” Weddle said.

“It’s no slight on our offense or special teams, but let’s have that mindset going in that we have to win the game. If other things happen and we’re blowing teams out, then so be it, but these next six games and last week, that’s our approach.”

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