'A Bunch of A-Holes': Ravens Defense Has Its Swagger

DT Justin Madubuike

The Ravens defense speaks many languages. Primarily, it talks with its pads.

But after Sunday's 37-3 demolition of the Seattle Seahawks, Geno Stone asked to excuse his French.

"We're a bunch of assholes out there," Stone said. "It is what it is. We want to be the best defense we can be."

The Seahawks entered the game ranked No. 11 in the league in points per game, averaging 24 per game. The Ravens gave up just three points, six first downs, and 151 yards.

Ravens players say it's essentially a two-step process. Stop the run and make the quarterback feel uncomfortable. That's what, as they say, "changes the dynamics of the game." The Seahawks had 15 carries for just 28 yards and the Ravens sacked Geno Smith four times. The Seahawks were 1-of-12 on third down.

"Just a really hard, long day against a really good team," Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll said. "They took it to us. I've got to give them a lot of credit."

It's the Ravens' attitude that brings their formula to life. They're never satisfied. They gave up three points after DK Metcalf's lone catch of the game – a 50-yarder. Stone had a chance at a second interception in the game glance off his fingertips. Kyle Hamilton did push-ups on the sideline after he dropped a chance at a pick, too.

That's how this Ravens defense operates. Great is not good enough. It expects to dominate – from start to finish. On Sunday, it did. Even as the Ravens held a massive lead late in the fourth quarter, players were still flying around the field, pummeling the Seahawks every time they touched the ball.

Part of it is because of last week. With the Ravens holding a big lead in Arizona, the Cardinals narrowed Baltimore's lead (and watered down the defense's dominance) with 17 fourth-quarter points. That, combined with the fact that the Ravens were a little leakier on run defense than usual, bothered Baltimore.

"Even though we won the game, as a defense, we could have tackled better, we could have played better," defensive tackle Justin Madubuike said. "We came in with a little bad taste in our mouth. We wanted to show the Seahawks who the big boss is, and that's what it was."

Madubuike had one of the Ravens' sacks, extending his streak to a franchise-high six straight games with a sack. He's now up to 7.5, the most of any interior defensive lineman in the league.

"We talk that smack a little bit. We talk after we hit you in the mouth. We let you know that we're bringing it all day," Madubuike said.

"We're a bunch of a-holes trying to play smashmouth football. That's what the Ravens are about. That's what we're here for and that's what we're doing."

Madubuike was just one of many Ravens defenders to have a big day. Veteran Kyle Van Noy, who the Ravens signed off the street part way through the year, logged back-to-back sacks at the end of the first half that turned the game. An Odell Beckham Jr. fumble could have flipped momentum, but Van Noy slammed the door on that with a sack and forced fumble that got the ball back to the offense for a field goal.

"We don't just go out there to win; we want to dominate," Van Noy said. "We try to be the best defense in the country.

"First, it starts with the standard, and then secondly, as a group, all 11 of us and some that aren't starters, buying into that standard and trying to elevate each other, take the coaching and just produce that onto the football field. We have a lot of guys on this team that have chips on their shoulders or come from different backgrounds, whatever you want to call it, that are buying into each other, that believe in each other, and it shows on the football field."

Linebacker Patrick Queen, who led the Ravens with six tackles, including one for loss, said Baltimore had the goal of being No. 1 in the league across the board. The Ravens have given up the fewest points in the league. They were No. 2 in the league in yards allowed per game, only trailing the Cleveland Browns.

The Browns pitched a shutout against the Arizona Cardinals Sunday afternoon. Now the Ravens and Browns will meet next Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium, again each looking to prove they have the superior defense.

The Ravens won the first round, 28-3, in Cleveland in Week 4, but that was against rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Deshaun Watson returned to action against the Cardinals, meaning he'll presumably be ready for Round 2.

"I talk with my pads, but I definitely have confidence in our side," Madubuike said.

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