Defensive coordinator Dean Pees stuck with an aggressive approach, blitzing defenders and using unusual alignments. He occasionally utilized safeties James Ihedigbo and Omar Brown as edge pass rushers lined up outside the tackles and shifted outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw to nose guard.
During a 33-14 victory at M&T Bank Stadium that secured an AFC North crown for the second consecutive season, the Ravens mixed up coverage schemes to keep the defending Super Bowl champions off guard. The defense generated three sacks and a season-high nine quarterback hits against a Giants offense that entered the game having allowed an NFL-low 16 sacks.
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"Coach Pees did a great job of showing different plays, showing pressure and playing coverage and showing coverage and running pressures," said Ihedigbo, who had two quarterback hits. "It kept them on their toes. It messed up his communication with his receivers. We played great as a defense. Whenever you play that fast and that physical, it's tough to beat."
Although Manning didn't throw any interceptions and delivered one touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach, the two-time Super Bowl Most Valuable Player was erratic overall.
One week after his older brother, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, dismantled the Ravens' injury-riddled defense, Eli Manning completed just 14 of 28 passes for 150 yards and a mediocre 78.0 quarterback rating.
"We kept Eli on his toes," cornerback Cary Williams said. "He didn't know if we were in man or zone or whatever it may be. He wasn't able to figure it out. We held him to a minimum."
The Ravens had one sack by blitzing inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe nullified by an offsides penalty, but defensive tackle Haloti Ngata dropped Manning for a 15-yard sack, inside linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo tackled Manning for a 7-yard sack and rookie safety Omar Brown recorded a 9-yard sack.
It was a breakthrough against an offense that rarely allows Manning to play under this much duress.
"We watched their offensive line all week and we noticed they were really protecting Eli well, but we really gave them fits," Ayanbadejo said. "Dean did a great job of mixing up the calls and the guys executed. Overall, we played faster than them. They were a step behind us."
It was nearly constant pressure for a maligned defense that had entered the game with only 32 sacks.
"I think it's a step forward," said Ngata, who registered his fifth sack of the season. "We had kind of been down the last coupleof weeks. This is a game where we showed our defense.
"Coach Pees did a great job. He called blitzes when he needed to. Guys beat their one-on-one blocks. It was good all the way around."
Ray Lewis out until playoffs
Veteran middle linebacker Ray Lewis will remain sidelined until at least the postseason, according to Ravens coach John Harbaugh.
Lewis, who remains on the injured reserve-designated to return list with a surgically repaired torn right triceps, won't get back on the field for the regular-season finale next week against the Cincinnati Bengals, per Harbaugh.
"We will not look at him again for this week," Harbaugh said. "We'll look at him for the playoffs. It's a 12- to 16-week injury. So if you do the math going back, we thought there was a chance. He's progressing really well.
"I'm not saying he couldn't have played the last couple of weeks, but it would've been risky to re-injure it. The fact that there was some patience on Ray's part and our part, it turned out well."
The two-time former NFL Defensive Player of the Year tore his triceps in a win over the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 14.
Lewis has been sidelined for the past nine games and has been champing at the bit to get back on the field.