Missed tackles lead to big plays

Missed tackles lead to big plays
November 19, 2012, 3:30 pm
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For the most part, the Ravens have done a better job in limiting "chunk" plays that had victimized them early in the season.

They gave up nine plays of 20 yards or more in their Week 2 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

They allowed four in the 13-10 win at the Pittsburgh Steelers, with one on a running play that led to an improbable score.

Quarterback Byron Leftwich, who isn’t known for his foot speed, got to the edge, ran down the sideline and went 31 yards for the game’s only offensive touchdown.

Bernard Pollard had a clean hit on Leftwich, but he wasn’t able to wrap him up. The week before, a similar scenario unfolded in a 55-20 win vs. the Oakland Raiders when Darrius Heyward-Bey went 55 yards for a touchdown. He appeared stopped in the middle of the field by Ed Reed.

Reed failed to secure him, too, and the play gave Oakland momentary hope. The Ravens allowed six "chunk" plays in that game.

Leftwich's run was an anomaly in another otherwise stellar performance by a Ravens defense which has made tackling a focal point in recent weeks.

"Leftwich made a play. We got to finish as a defense, including myself and BP," Reed said. "We all have to finish. I stopped running to the ball, thinking he was going to go out of bounds. … I think a couple (other) guys shut down also."

Pollard, who has been hit with personal foul penalties for plays near the sideline this season, hinted that he was too cautious about hitting the quarterback and that he'll take his chances with the referees in the future.

"I take full blame for the first touchdown. We’re thinking the quarterback (was) running out of bounds. We got to stay on alert. When the quarterback take off, we’re going to hit him. We’re not going to think about anything. We just going to hit him. … You never want to let a quarterback do that to you."