Since getting traded to the Ravens midway through the season, left tackle Eugene Monroe has been Baltimore's best offensive lineman at protecting quarterback Joe Flacco.
But he had a rough game in pass protection Sunday against Chicago Bears defensive end Julius Peppers.
Peppers had two sacks on Flacco that came through Monroe, and he finished with 11 total tackles. Peppers also had four tackles for loss and two quarterback hurries.
"Everyone presents a unique challenge, and it was a battle all day long," Monroe said after the 23-20 loss.
On Peppers' first sack, which came in the second quarter, he blew by Monroe with a speed rush and was able to get to Flacco in the backfield for an 8-yard loss. Peppers beat Monroe off the ball and then came around his right side with a burst to bring down Flacco from behind.
The sack came on a 2nd-and-16 play in the second quarter, and then the Ravens ended up having to punt two plays later. On the ensuing possession, the Bears ended up cutting the score to 10-3 on a 20-yard field goal by Robbie Gould.
Later in the quarter, Peppers showed off his power by pushing Monroe back in the pocket, and then chasing down Flacco to get the sack. It came on first down of the Ravens' final possession of the first half. Flacco ended up throwing an interception two plays later, and the Bears converted the turnover into points by adding another field goal before halftime to make the score 17-13.
"He does a good job of mixing it up, so when you play against a guy like that who has the ability to press upfield, bull rush, make inside moves, you just have to be ready for all of it," Monroe said about the eight-time Pro Bowler.
Sunday was the first time that Monroe allowed as pass rusher to get the best of him since he's been in a Ravens uniform. Coming into Sunday's game, Monroe had allowed just two sacks in his four previous starts.
He has also consistently received positive grades in pass protection, according to Pro Football Focus. The game against Peppers was the first time since Week 3 when he was in Jacksonville that Monroe has received a negative grade from PFF in pass protection (-1.2).
While his pass blocking was not as strong as normal, Monroe still received a positive overall grade ( 3.5) from PFF thanks to his impressive day as a run blocker ( 4.1). Monroe and the rest of the offensive line had their best game of the season clearing holes for the running game, as the Ravens finished with 174 yards on the ground.
"[The run game] showed some life, but it's still not consistent enough, so we'll keep pounding it," Monroe said. "We've just been working on it, approaching in the same way, and we had a little bit of success with it today."