Breaking down run defense: Baltimore Ravens vs. Derrick Henry
What went wrong last time:
Last time was problematic for the Ravens but it wasn’t as bad as you probably remember it. Derrick Henry had 133 yards in the contest and 29 of those yards came on one play in overtime. Take out the overtime moment where the defense (that was shorthanded on the defensive line) and Henry had around 100 rushing yards.
If Henry has just around 100 yards in the wild card game, that may not be enough for Tennessee. The Ravens made a ton of mistakes in that game and it went to overtime. Lost in the fact that Baltimore got handed a really tough L, is the idea that this matchup has some advantages for the Ravens.
The Ravens have to do a more consistent job in run defense this go around. They did an okay of stopping Henry to modest gains most of the time. They also gave up too many big plays. Big plays from Henry are for the Titans what a spoon is to you when you eat ice cream. Under the idea that Henry is getting his production any which way you go about it, this isn’t about the production. It’s about how he gets it.
Example time. Henry can rush for 100 yards on 10 carries or 100 yards on 20 carries, which hurts the defense more? If the Titans have to constantly feed Henry and they don’t get his ridiculous 5.4 yards per attempt average, Don Martindale is winning the battle. The key is to get that down to 3.5 yards per attempt. If Henry averages any less than four yards per rushing attempt the Titans are going to lose this ball game.
The Ravens actually did better than you would have expected them to without the A-team run stoppers out there. Playing gap sound defense and playing to your assignments is huge. The Ravens should be encouraged coming into this game that they can put up some opposition, especially because the team is in a much better spot than they were in the regular season battle against the Titans.