Don’t tell Miami Dolphins’ Adam Gase, but Ravens have worst run D in NFL (really)

Bears running back Jordan Howard had 167 yards against the Ravens. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

DAVIE — The Baltimore Ravens are sound. Physical. They set the edge. They’re the same Baltimore Ravens we’ve seen for the past 15-odd years.

That’s the message coming from Dolphins coach Adam Gase on Thursday night’s opponent, adhering to the NFL tradition of always talking up your opponent.

You know what the statistics say?

They say the Ravens aren’t sound. In fact, when it comes to stopping the run, they’re terrible. The worst in the league, in fact.

“Right now we stink,” Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs said.

Yes, it goes against everything you think of when you think of the Ravens, but they’re giving up 145.3 rushing yards per game. Know how bad that is? It’s almost exactly what the Dolphins’ run defense looked like a year ago, when they set a team record for futility.

Look closely, you can see Gase covering his ears and eyes.

Says Gase: “It’s one of those matchups that when you watch the tape, when you look at stats and things like that, it doesn’t really match up because you see a lot of things that they’re doing, it makes it very difficult.”

The Dolphins’ Jay Ajayi had seven runs that failed to gain yardage against the Jets. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

The Bears didn’t think so. Two weeks ago, they rushed for 231 yards in a 27-24 victory in Baltimore, with Jordan Howard doing most of the damage (36 carries, 167 yards). That continued a trend. After giving up an average of 85 rushing yards the first two weeks, the Ravens have allowed an average of 169.4 over the past five games — with opponents gaining at least 100 rushing yards each time. The Ravens have allowed a 100-yard rusher in three of the past four games.

Listen closely, and that noise you hear is either Ray Lewis screaming in horror or a Jay Train roaring down the tracks.

Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi, who has 442 yards, said one of his primary goals this season was consistency. But he has just two 100-yard games this season. His totals have bounced from 122 yards to 16 in the first two games and from 130 to 51 in the most recent two. So this week might be the time to start establishing that consistency, assuming the banged-up offensive line holds up.

Getting back to Gase, he says the numbers are skewed by one or two explosive runs against the Ravens per game.

“My experience has been that it’s always been tough sledding against these guys,” Gase said. “When you turn on the tape and you watch what they’re doing, there’s a lot of runs that aren’t very good. There have been a few that have kind of popped out of there – a couple of explosive runs here and there – but for the most part, there’s not really a lot of air to run into.”

Ajayi is coming off a 23-carry, 51-yard day against the Jets. His longest run was 11 yards. Seven of his attempts went for no gain or lost yardage.

The Ravens rank 18th in total defense, seventh in pass defense and 13th in scoring defense, so it stands to reason that this might not be the game in which Matt Moore airs it out like he did trying to rally against the Jets.

Thursday night might be a test of how committed the Dolphins are toward letting Ajayi pound away until he breaks one.

“Their scheme is tough,” Gase said. “Then when you add the way that some of these guys are playing and their gap responsibilities and how those outside guys really do a good job of setting the edge and they funnel everything back inside, it really makes it difficult to have clean lanes all of the time. Unfortunately, you’re counting on your running back to make a great play the majority of the time to really pop one free.”

[Byron Maxwell released to make room for QB]

[Man behind the mask: The story behind Kenny Stills’ face paint]

[What Ravens coach John Harbaugh said about Moore, Mike Wallace and more]

[Dolphins down to one healthy starter on offensive line]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook