When the Ravens went to San Diego last year, they simply couldn't control quarterback Philip Rivers and the Chargers. The San Diego offense moved the ball almost at will and rolled to an easy 34-14 victory.
The Ravens will be looking for a better result this year, starting with trying to slow Rivers. He completed 17 of 23 passes for 270 yards and one touchdown last year. Rivers completed just about everything he tried in that game as the Chargers moved up and down the field with ease. In fact, they also ran for 145 yards and never even needed to punt.
The Chargers are struggling this season, coming into this game with a 4-6 record, but the Ravens know they can't take them lightly, especially after what happened in last year's contest.
"You definitely can’t overlook anybody," linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "This team is dangerous. This team is very dangerous. They have a lot of weapons, and they have a very good offense.”
The biggest weapon is Rivers. He's been up and down at times in the past two seasons, but when he's on, the former North Carolina State star remains one of the NFL's top guns. Last year, he picked the Ravens' defense apart, and they don't want a repeat of that.
The Ravens need to get some pressure on Rivers and not let him stand back there in the pocket and do whatever he wants. Last year, Joe Flacco got sacked seven times in this game -- but Rivers didn't get sacked at all. That was a big reason that Rivers and the Chargers did so well.
The Ravens' defense has played much better in the last three weeks, but the wins they've gotten have come against teams without dominant quarterbacks. That's why this Sunday's match-up in San Diego is going to be a test for a defense that appears to be finding its way.