Hillis won't sneak up on Ravens this time

When the Ravens faced the Browns back on Sept. 26, Peyton Hillis was still mostly known as the guy who Cleveland had acquired from the Broncos (along with a sixth-round draft pick) in return for the useless Brady Quinn.

Going into that game, the Ravens knew Hills would start for the Browns at running back, but they admit that they didn't really have a good idea of what they were up against.

"I think the first time that we played him, first of all, nobody really knew who he was," defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said.

Hillis torched the Ravens for 144 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries in that Week 3 matchup. He ripped off a 48-yard run, a 25-yard run, and plowed through the Ravens for what was then a career-best day.

This time, you can bet the Ravens will know what to expect when they see the third-year running back this Sunday in Cleveland.

"We watched a little bit of film this morning on our first game, and it just wasn't good," linebacker Jarret Johnson said. "Nobody really wanted to watch. Everybody was wanting to get up and go to the bathroom. He's a good running back, really good scheme, and it's a really big challenge for us this week."

"Obviously, he's a really talented guy," head coach John Harbaugh said. "He complements their offensive line very well. They come off the ball. They're very physical. They run pretty much every I-formation running scheme there is, and they do it really effectively. And that's the kind of back he is. So, they just complement each other well.

"He's a hard runner. He's tough to bring down. If he gets in your secondary, he's really tough to bring down."

Hillis has followed up his big game against the Ravens by posting four more games of at least 100 yards rushing. He has 1,129 rushing yards on the season, and 13 total touchdowns (11 on the ground, two through the air).

Along the way, he's showed off his toughness, his speed - for a big guy - and his surprising pass catching ability.

In addition to the damage he's done on the ground, the three-year veteran, who checks in at a rugged 6-1, 240 pounds, also leads the Browns in receptions with 59 and is second on the team in receiving yards with 469.

"He's got incredible hands - like Ray Rice's-type hands," Cleveland coach Eric Mangini said. "I mean, they're both guys that seem to catch everything that's thrown to them."

As they've studied Hillis this week, the Ravens have found a couple chinks in his armor.

Hillis has a tendency to put the ball on the ground (he has eight fumbles on the season, five of which have been lost), and he struggles if you can force him to slow his momentum and change directions in the hole.

"He doesn't really like to run sideways and cut down," defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said. "So, we know that if we just close those holes for him to go through, then he's going to have to run sideways, and we can probably get him better that way."

That was information that the Ravens might not have had when they faced Hillis back in September. This time, they say they'll be prepared for what the bruising running back will bring at them.

"Now we know what to expect," defensive end Cory Redding said, "and we can come out there and play good football."

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