Ravens Have Season's Best Rushing Day In Win Over Eagles

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All the talk Monday around Baltimore is about how the Ravens should have run instead of pass when Joe Flacco threw a near-disastrous interception late in the fourth quarter.

Part of the reason for all the chatter is the Ravens had their best rushing game of the year against the Philadelphia Eagles in their 27-26 win.

Baltimore ran for a season-high 151 yards and averaged a whopping 6.3 yards per carry.

Terrance West had one of his strongest days, rushing 13 times for 77 yards, including a 41-yard rumble. Rookie running back Kenneth Dixon had nine carries for 36 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown.

So has the Ravens' rushing attack, which entered the game ranked 28th in the NFL, finally found traction?

"We're just getting better every week," Dixon said. "Getting coached up, trusting our offensive line, hitting the hole hard and just getting better."

The Eagles brought the NFL's 15th-ranked run defense to Baltimore. They were allowing 101.4 yards per game. Head Coach John Harbaugh said the Eagles' front four is as good as any in the league, and plays very aggressive.

"When you play a front like that and a defense like that, it's going to be hard to come by those yards," he said. "You're going to have some negative-yardage plays on them, and we had those. But you're also going to have an opportunity to pop some runs on them."

The Ravens countered the Eagles' aggressiveness up front with a jet sweep to wide receiver Michael Campanaro, who turned the corner and accelerated up the field for a 39-yard gain.

West's longest run of the day was a 41-yard rumble at the start of the third quarter. Center Jeremy Zuttah opened the hole by turning his defensive lineman, then picking off a linebacker, and West picked his way through the right side of the line before galloping into the open field.

Dixon's 16-yard run was a good play call and execution. It was a misdirection flip to the left, and rookie left tackle Ronnie Stanley paved the way for Dixon, who broke through safety Rodney McLeod's tackle at the goal line.

"I just saw a touchdown," Dixon said. "He flipped it to me, and I had one guy to beat. Not being cocky or anything, but one guy is never going to tackle me."

Now the Ravens will face an even better run defense against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Christmas day.

The Steelers have the league's No. 4-ranked run defense (89.1 yards per game), and surrendered just 50 yards on 29 carries to the Ravens in Baltimore's 21-14 win in Week 9. The Ravens averaged just a paltry 1.7 yards per carry that day.

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