It wasn't long ago that run defense was the primary concern when talking about the Ravens.
A franchise that was built on its stiff run defense -- a "staple," coach John Harbaugh calls it -- had taken a step back without Jarret Johnson (free agency) and Terrell Suggs (Achilles) at outside linebacker.
The Ravens did a solid good job against running back LeSean McCoy, however, in last week's 24-23 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. McCoy finished with 81 yards on 25 carries for just a 3.2 average. The previous week, McCoy had 110 yards on 20 carries for a 5.5 average against the Cleveland Browns.
That Ravens run defense performance came after BenJarvus Green-Ellis had 91 yards on 18 carries (5.1) and would've had significantly more if the Cincinnati Bengals hadn't abandoned the run because of a 44-13 loss in the opener.
With rookie Courtney Upshaw filling in for the injured Paul Kruger (back) at outside linebacker, the run defense showed progress. Albert McClellan had his best game, too, including a fumble recovery.
"We did a good job of setting the edge on McCoy," defensive coordinator Dean Pees said Thursday. "He got outside on us once, we missed a tackle at the line of scrimmage, and it was his one big run. The rest of the time we made him cut back into traffic, which we wanted to do."
The Patriots' primary runner will be Stevan Ridley, who is averaging 5.0 yards per carry in his second season with 196 yards on 39 carries. He replaced Green-Ellis, who left the Patriots after last season.
Pees, who said he was "not pleased" with his run defense in Week 1, will have his work cut out for him.
"We've got to continue to be balanced on offense, and obviously Stevan runs hard and everyone has a lot of confidence in him," quarterback Tom Brady said.