The Ravens have been crushed by injuries on defense. They've lost key players like Ray Lewis, Lardarius Webb and others.
All of those losses came around the same time and are probably why the defense struggled for several games. Suddenly, they couldn't stop the run or pass on a regular pass.
But things are slowly changing the last few weeks as guys like Dannell Ellerbe have been stepping in and stepping up to give the defense some punch once more. Ellerbe had another good game in Sunday's 13-10 win in Pittsburgh that gave the Ravens a two-game lead in the AFC North.
Ellerbe finished with 12 tackles (and a tackle for loss) to lead the team on a night when the defense looked a lot like the ones from years past. He flew all over the field, finding the ball, making hits and causing trouble.
Jameel McClain and cornerback Corey Graham also were all over the field as the Ravens shut down Pittsburgh. But Ellerbe's been doing it for the past few weeks now, helping to fill the hole caused by the loss of Lewis.
The return of Terrell Suggs has been a big plus to the defense, but they can't just rely on one person. Ellerbe's really come on big lately. He had 11 tackles last week, nine the game before that and 12 in the loss in Houston. He's finished in double figures in tackles three of the last four games.
And the Ravens have needed that badly.
What will be interesting to see from here is how far Ellerbe can take it. The Ravens' linebackers are traditionally a group that's racing around the field and causing trouble, something which wasn't happening much before the bye week. It's been happening again, and Ellerbe's a big reason.