Brendon Ayanbadejo has made his name in the NFL for his play on special teams. And that's understandable since he's been very good at it.
But Ayanbadejo also has helped out on defense from time to time -- and he did it again on Sunday when the Ravens needed some help.
With Dannell Ellerbe out following a first-half injury, and the defensive needing some help, Ayanbadejo stepped up. He came on at linebacker and played very well in the Ravens' come-from-behind 16-13 victory over San Diego.
Ayanbadejo finished with five tackles, but made several good plays later in the game. He made some key open-field tackles that helped the Ravens keep San Diego quiet, not score points and let the offense have a chance to make a move.
In addition, he did well on pass coverage, something that's not surprising due to his quickness, speed and athleticism. He's very valuable to the Ravens on special teams, but Ayanbadejo's help on defense at various times can't be ignored.
This is one of the things that the defense has been doing better of late -- making plays at the right time. They held the Chargers to three points in the second half and overtime after San Diego moved the ball in the air in the first half. The Ravens were able to tighten their pass coverage and make plays.
Ayanbadejo's open-field tackle of Antonio Gates on a second-and-6 in overtime held the big tight end to just two yards. A first down there would have put the Chargers in Baltimore territory. But it didn't happen.
Ayanbadejo then helped break up a pass on third-and-3 on San Diego's second overtime possession. The Ravens got the ball back and went on the game-winning drive, and Ayanbadejo's work helped set that up.