Chuck Pagano's Defense Snaps Ravens Sackless Streak


Leave it to former Ravens Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano to bring the heat and break Baltimore's streak.

The Colts head coach and defensive guru brought pressure in some critical times, and the Ravens' three-game streak of not surrendering a sack was snapped midway through the first quarter.

Indianapolis netted four sacks and gave undrafted rookie tackle James Hurst a particularly tough time in his second career start at left tackle and first on the road.

"I know they came after us a pretty good amount," quarterback Joe Flacco said.

The Colts relied on their cornerbacks to play tight man coverage to slow up Baltimore's receivers and make Flacco hold the ball longer. That enabled them to bring blitzes with extra defenders.

Just when the Ravens needed an offensive drive the most on their final outing, Flacco was sacked on the first play, backing Baltimore up to their own 3-yard line. Outside linebacker Bjoern Werner overpowered Hurst to get to Flacco.

Hurst, who replaced Eugene Monroe (knee), drew strong reviews in his first career start against Carolina. He had more trouble in his second start, which isn't surprising considering the tough road conditions and in the face of a steady attack.

"I think I remember [Hurst] getting beat one time by No. 92 clean for a sack," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "Most of it was pressure. Most of it, they were bringing five and they were bringing six. They did a good job with that."

The Ravens tried to hit running back Justin Forsett out of the backfield to pick up first downs, but he was stopped twice short of the markers on third down. Flacco tried to lob one pass to tight end Owen Daniels to beat blitzes on third down, but they also were both just out of reach.

On the Ravens' final offensive play of the game, the Colts again brought pressure and Flacco tried to drop a ball deep to wide receiver Torrey Smith in one-one-one coverage, but it bounced off Smith's hands.

Baltimore's offensive line was also put in difficult pass-blocking situations because it was too frequently put in third-and-longs. In those spots, the Colts could especially come after the linemen.

"You've got to get the ball out and make them pay for that with plays, and we were unable to do that," Harbaugh said.

The Colts defensive line was playing without former Raven Arthur Jones and outside linebacker Robert Mathis, who led the league with 19.5 sacks last year but who is currently sidelined with an Achilles injury.

Still, Indianapolis got two sacks from Werner, one from safety Sergio Brown and another from former Ravens defensive end Cory Redding. Besides the four sacks, they hit Flacco two more times.

"They're good. Their ends are up-the-field guys; they try to get a good jump on the ball," center Jeremy Zuttah said. "I don't think it was anything too exotic. It was stuff they've done on film. We just have to do a better job executing."

On Monday, Harbaugh explained the offensive line's different mistakes.

"There were no lapses," he said. "We had one where we got overwhelmed a little bit, technique-wise. We had another one where we had bad footwork up front. We had another one where we had miscommunication on 'check with me' where some of the guys were running a different play. Then we had the one on the goal line, which was a corner blitz when we weren't able to account for that with the play that we had called.

"I don't think it's anything like the sky is falling by any stretch of the imagination. It's the way it went. We've got to get better."

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