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Ravens Defense Responds To Heated Dean Pees


Ravens Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees is always emotional at halftime, says his players.

But cornerback Jimmy Smith saw a little something different Sunday against the Chargers.

"He challenges us every week, but this time he came down yelling," Smith said with a grin.

"He said, 'We're going to go out [and play like] we've got nothing to lose and put pressure on them.' And that's what we did in the second half."

The Ravens didn't play a perfect game on defense, but they made enough plays at the end to win – something they've struggled with this season.

Baltimore's defense, and particularly the secondary, failed down the stretch against the Raiders, Bengals, Browns, 49ers and Cardinals.

On Sunday, the Ravens surrendered just 10 second-half points. The Chargers had a chance to notch a game-winning drive in the final minutes, but the Ravens held them to just a game-tying field goal in the final minutes.

"It was us – it was the Ravens," linebacker Daryl Smith said. "It was all three of us together. Our special teams played lights out today. Our offense did their thing today. Our defense did what we had to do. It was the Ravens that won the football game today, not either side."

Statistically, the Ravens defense played above expectations.

The Chargers entered with the top offense in the NFL, averaging 430.7 yards and 23.6 points per game. Quarterback Philip Rivers came to M&T Bank Stadium averaging 350 passing yards per game, which put him on pace to break the NFL's single-season record.

Considering the Ravens came into the game with the league's fifth-worst pass defense, it looked like a big day was in store for Rivers and the Chargers' aerial attack – at least on paper.

But what's gone according to the script this season for the Ravens or Chargers?

Rivers finished with 301 passing yards, a heathy amount but below his typical day this year.

The Ravens gave up a 70-yard touchdown to receiver* *Malcom Floyd after he beat cornerback Kyle Arrington off the snap and got behind safety Will Hill too. Floyd was never touched on his way to the end zone.

The long score, which came on a blown coverage, Head Coach John Harbaugh said, was the lone glaring black mark on the unit's slate Sunday. But the unit stayed aggressive throughout. Harbaugh estimated that the cornerbacks played man-to-man coverage about 75 percent of the time.

"We gave up a huge play too easily, and that could change a game against a team on another night," Smith said. "So, those are kind of the things I'm looking at right now. But like I said, we won, we're happy. We've got work to do."

The Chargers took over possession, down by three points, with four minutes, 34 seconds remaining. The drive didn't get off to a good start for the Ravens as Rivers hit running back Danny Woodhead for a 26-yard gain on the first play of the drive, then hit tight end Antonio Gates for gains of 9 and 15 yards.

In a snap of the fingers, San Diego was in field-goal range. The Ravens then stuffed Woodhead for just a 1-yard rushing gain and Rivers' second-down pass was incomplete. A false start put the Chargers* *in a difficult third-and-14 situation and a back-shoulder throw to Floyd went incomplete due to tight coverage by Smith.

The defense gave the Ravens offense the ball back with 2:27 left and needing just a field goal to win.

"It's big," defensive tackle Brandon Williams said. "Finish games, finish plays, finish third downs. We did that today, and that's the biggest thing. We grinded it out, and we won."

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