The Ravens may still be the NFL's top-ranked defense, but after Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts hung 31 points on the scoreboard last week, such honors are forgotten.
Heading into Sunday's matchup with the Miami Dolphins, Baltimore leads the league by allowing only 220.8 total yards per game.
Don't tell the defense, however.
The unit is eager to cleanse itself of the feeling of watching Manning toss three touchdowns and rack up a 24-point lead in the first half.
"We're down right now, and last week was definitely a wake-up call. Definitely, getting lit up like that, that's on the defense," said linebacker Terrell Suggs. "That's all of us that are on that side of the ball. We're definitely going to be dangerous [this week]."
Manning's 19-of-28, 271-yard performance was something the Ravens' stalwart "D" takes very personally, and defensive coordinator Rex Ryan believes his charges will bounce back quickly.
"How could you not?" Ryan asked. "It's in anything. We look to improve. We have a lot of pride in our group. I'll be shocked if we don't play well. That was just an ugly game. They made plays, and we never did, so that has a tendency to happen.
"Again, hey, we're proud of our group. We know we're going to play. We know we're going to respond. We'll compete against anybody in this league. That just wasn't our day."
The Ravens could add extra motivation by rehashing last year's 22-16 overtime loss to Miami, where Baltimore gave the Dolphins their only victory during a 1-15 campaign.
That December afternoon, wideout Greg Camarillo knifed 64 yards through the secondary for the game-winning score.
Still, the Ravens have more concerns, namely ending a three-game losing skid after initially jumping out to a 2-0 record.
"We know this is our season right here, so it's got to be taken like this could make or break our season," Suggs explained. "This is the game. Everybody thought maybe it was the Pittsburgh game or the Tennessee game. It was neither one of those. This is it.
"You lose this one, it's going to be you guys [in the media] starting to wither off and starting to jump off the bandwagon. So we're trying to keep everybody on."
For the third-consecutive week, the Ravens will not have the services of starting safety Dawan Landry (neck) and cornerback Samari Rolle (neck/shoulder), and are monitoring the status of top reserve cornerback Fabian Washington, who has been limited in practice with a shoulder injury.
But, no matter who is out there, Baltimore's defense is gunning to show it deserves its prestigious rating – and that the Colts' outburst was a fluke.
"We expect to be No. 1, so when something like that happens, it definitely brings us back to reality," said defensive tackle Haloti Ngata.
Koch Bombs Away
In the midst of his third season, Ravens punter Sam Koch is seeing success.
Koch has offered 25 punts on the year and is currently eighth in the NFL with a 46.7-yard average per attempt.
The former sixth-round draft pick from Nebraska is slightly ahead of his career-best 43.6-yard average set in 2007.
Ravens special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg cites Koch's work ethic last spring and summer for the boost in productivity.
"He's a prime example of how offseason training can help you in-season," Rosburg said. "When I arrived in February, Sam and I sat down and had a talk about what things he thought he needed to get better at. After viewing his tape, I shared some things that I saw. He went about working at it starting in March and has been continuing to work on it since that time."
In addition to his gross average, Koch's net average per punt is a stellar 41.4 yards, good for fifth place in the league.
While Rosburg didn't totally overhaul Koch's technique, he admits there were slight tweaks that have worked.
"When you're working with specialists, one of the things you try to do is to, rather than totally turn them around, you're trying to give them suggestions of things that they could see and do that work within their framework," he explained.
Ravens safety Ed Reed sat out of Thursday's practice with a hamstring injury, along with wideout Yamon Figurs (knee) and right tackle Adam Terry (knee). View the full Ravens Injury Report…With injuries to Figurs and fellow receiver Demetrius Williams (ankle), rookies Marcus Smith and Ernie Wheelwright could see some game action. Wheelwright was called up from the practice squad this week. "Both of those guys are practicing with the first [string] and getting reps with the first team," said offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. "Like we told them, especially Ernie, 'Ernie, you're active now. You're up. Not necessarily active, but you're on the 53. Get yourself ready to play. We're all counting on you.'"