McGahee Powers Ravens Running Game

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San Diego's Darren Sproles and Baltimore's Ray Rice provided the speed and sizzle in Sunday's offensive showdown.

Ravens running back Willis McGahee brought the power.

And in the end, power was what gave the Ravens a 31-26 victory over the Chargers Sunday.

McGahee scored the Ravens' first two touchdowns, the first coming on a 5-yard rumble in the first quarter and then a three-yard plunge in the second quarter. He led all rushers with 79 yards on just 15 carries.

McGahee now has four touchdowns in two games after scoring seven touchdowns all of last season.

"When it gets down to the goal line, you have to show up," McGahee said. "Whenever my number is called, I try to show up, especially on the goal line. That's something I work hard on.

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"I don't care if it's on third-and-1 or third-and-12. I'm going to get it done."

By his lofty standards, McGahee didn't get it done last year. The 6-foot-0, 235-pound bruiser was held to just 671 yards rushing and seven touchdowns. He missed three games and started just eight contests, the fewest of his career.

By the end of the season, the 2007 Pro Bowler had been supplanted as the Ravens' No. 1 rusher by converted fullback Le'Ron McClain. This season, the 27-year-old McGahee is once again in the backup role as Rice, who is in his second year, is tops on the depth-chart.

That seemed to light a fire under McGahee as he entered this season's training camp in what running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery called "midseason form." Now McGahee has given the Ravens three top-notch backs and established himself as the Ravens' goal line wrecking ball.

"If they're not preparing, they've got a problem," McGahee said about teams having to game plan for three backs. "I know we're going to play our game, whether I'm starting, Ray, or Le'Ron."

The Ravens went down early Sunday after Sproles broke an 81-yard catch and score on the Chargers' second drive. But the Ravens didn't panic.

On its following drive, Baltimore grinded down the field behind an offensive line that was aided by the absence of San Diego's massive defensive tackle Jamal Williams, who was placed on injured reserve Saturday with a triceps injury.

McGahee said he was looking forward to facing Williams, but the Ravens were happy to run in his void anyway.

"We always try to establish the run game early, and that's what we did," McGahee said. "That's what I'm here for – running the ball."

McGahee ran five times for 27 yards on the drive, including a 13-yard gain that put the Ravens on the edge of the red zone. On his touchdown run, he started to his left and cut back up the gut, running over Ravens guard Chris Chester on his way into the end zone to tie the game at 7-7.

"It comes down to willpower and discipline," McGahee said of scoring in the red zone. "You have to want it more, and we wanted it more. … No pitter-patter. If you pitter-patter, you're going to get hit."

McGahee's second touchdown came on the Ravens' next drive. Baltimore again assaulted the Chargers with its three-headed running monster. Rice kept the drive alive with a one-handed catch on third-and-5. Then Rice and McClain each ran the ball once for another first down.

McGahee followed that up with an 11-yard run around the right end and then an 8-yard reception in the flat. A defensive pass interference call brought the ball to the 3-yard line and McGahee punched it in on his first chance, running behind the left side of the Ravens' line to score with 10:56 left in the first half.

The Ravens never trailed after McGahee's second touchdown.

"I just hope I can keep on getting better," McGahee said. "If I break tackles, long runs can come out of that."

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