Entering the 2019 season, defensive linemen Michael Pierce and Brandon Williams were expected to be the anchors up front. Williams came up big for the Ravens when Pierce suffered an early ankle injury that kept him from returning in Baltimore’s 49-13 win over Cincinnati Bengals.
Williams and the Ravens defense struggled to stop the Bengals rushing attack. Cincinnati rolled up 157 yards on the ground. A lot of it came after Pierce went down early in the first quarter.
Without Pierce by his side, Williams finished with seven tackles against the Bengals.
“Brandon [Williams] was the guy. Brandon was a force,” head coach John Harbaugh said during his Monday,
November 11 press conference. “Brandon kind of took it upon himself to get that run stopped, especially in the second half. He played a lot of plays, played super hard, very physical in there. We needed him to— and he did a great job with it.”
Williams may have to continue to play without Pierce whose ankle injury has him listed as day to day. The Ravens signed former Oakland Raiders defense tackle Justin Ellis to help bolster their run defense if Pierce is unable to play.
This week the Ravens welcome the Houston Texans to M&T Bank Stadium. The Texans rushing attack is gaining 142.8 yards per game, 4th-highest in the NFL. Carlos Hyde’s 704 rushing yards are the 10th most on the NFL.
Williams will need to be at his best against the Texans in a game that could have an impact on the AFC playoff seeding. Currently the Ravens’ 7-2 record places them 2nd behind the top-seeded New England Patriots (8-1). Houston is leading the AFC South Division. Their 6-3 record has them just behind Baltimore.
Coach Harbaugh feels that Williams is playing really good football right now. He is confident that he will continue to step up for the Ravens.
“It’s been a long time that he’s been here, so he’s had a lot of great stretches,” Harbaugh said. “This is just another one of them, I guess. To me, he’s a consistently really good player. He’s one of the top players. He’s one of the top defensive tackles in football. I know how important he is to our team and to our defense. He’s a really, really valuable guy.”