For the last eight seasons, Baltimore’s 335 pound nose guard Brandon Williams’ job has been clearly defined - stop the opposition’s run game. His one-dimensional skillset is more valuable against run-centric offenses. In Week 5, plugging Indianapolis’ rushing attack will be important.
For a Ravens organization that has prided itself on stifling the run, a tied for 12th best 4.1 yards per carry allowed is unimpressive. Despite a 1-3 record, Indianapolis currently boasts a third best 29.9 rushing first down percentage. Bell cow running back Jonathan Taylor has the 10th most rushing yards in the NFL this season, second best 20 rushing first downs and a respectable 4.7 yard per carry average.
Taylor, the 41st selection in the 2020 draft, packs a unique blend of speed and power. He ripped off a 38-yard run and 23-yard score in Miami last weekend. Against Baltimore last season he found the end zone, yet was limited to 27 yards on six rushing attempts. Williams contributed to the effort, recording two tackles and keeping blockers off Malik Harrison, who tallied 11 tackles.
Indianapolis will line-up without perennial All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson, but their offensive line will still be anchored by Pro Bowl center Ryan Kelly. Traveling to Baltimore for a primetime contest as heavy underdogs, Head Coach Frank Reich will likely lean on his rushing offense to keep the Ravens explosive offense off the field and the score within reach.
Brandon Williams’ effectiveness controlling the line of scrimmage and preventing Taylor from reaching the second level, where the Ravens linebackers have struggled to tackle this season, should determine the difference between a comfortable Baltimore victory and another game decided late in the fourth quarter.