OWINGS MILLS, Md. —
“Being physical? That’s vital, man. That’s what we live by,” Baltimore cornerback Cary Williams said. “That’s something that Ray Lewis established here back in ‘96, and we’re going to continue to do that. It’s been, I guess, in our bloodline. It’s in our DNA. We don’t bring in guys that’s timid. We don’t bring in guys that’s not going to hit anybody.”
What about San Francisco’s defense?
“They’re just as physical as we are,” Williams replied, offering what in his mind is probably the highest compliment he could pay another team’s players.
San Francisco defensive lineman Justin Smith deflected a question about whether his defense is as good as Baltimore’s, replying: “I mean, we’re just trying to win a ring.”
Actually, that’s probably better asked about the Ravens: Are they as good as the 49ers?
Opposing offenses scored 15.5 points per game against the 49ers, which ranked third in the 32-team NFL in the regular season. The Ravens gave up 20 per game, 11th-best.
The 49ers allowed only two touchdown passes of 20-plus yards, the lowest total in the league. Baltimore allowed six.
During the regular season, the Ravens were whistled for an NFL-high 19 personal fouls. Their team also was penalized more yards overall than anyone else.
The 49ers, for their part, tied for fourth with 15 personal fouls and ranked fifth in penalty yardage.
“When you go against a team that has that kind of reputation, and you can watch it on film, it definitely gets in your mindset and you know you have to deal with it,” Ravens linebacker Paul Kruger said. “I’m not sitting here saying that we’re intimidating everybody or anything like that. But you know we’re coming to hit you, for sure.”