Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs isn't shy about disclosing his distaste for any other team in the NFL. But he conceded that there's something special about meeting the Arizona Cardinals, the hometown franchise that elected to bypass taking the former Arizona State standout in the 2003 draft.
"It's always special to do it against Arizona," said Suggs, who helped the Ravens edge the Cardinals, 30-27, Sunday. "I mean, let's be honest: the right thing was for me to come be a Baltimore Raven. That was the best thing that could happen to me for my professional career. But I'm going to always have a little something in the tank for them, you know what I mean?"
The four-time Pro Bowler enjoyed one of his best days as a Raven. He finished with 13 tackles (highest total since 14 tackles against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 5, 2007), one sack, four tackles for losses and two quarterback hits.
But Suggs, who led the defense in tackles and tackles for loss, rued failing to add to his team-leading sack total of six with at least two missed chances of Arizona quarterback Kevin Kolb.
"I left some on the field," Suggs said. "The best days are when we win and I finish the job. I got to him, but I'm always trying to go for the fumble. I'm going to always try to go for the fumble until I just say, 'Screw the fumble. Get him down.' But it happens like that. When I prayed this morning, I prayed for understanding. So I've got to go back, and I guess I've got to critique myself a little bit more, just to finish it and win the game for my team."
Despite his harsh self-review, Suggs was roundly complimented by his teammates.
"The dude is a killer, man," outside linebacker Jarret Johson said. "He's as good as there is in the game. He missed like four sacks tonight. He just continues to get better, and he's not just a guy who can rush the passer. He plays the run, he does everything. You cannot say enough about Terrell Suggs."
Lewis shrugs off shoulder injury
Inside linebacker Ray Lewis, who missed five plays last season, sat out four in the first quarter with what the team described as a stinger in his right shoulder.
But the 12-time Pro Bowler returned in the second quarter and said the injury was not serious.
"You always catch those hits sometimes, and my arm was caught in an awkward position when I tried to engage the guy," said Lewis, who finished with five tackles, one quarterback hit and a near interception. "And just regular numbness, and I just had to let it shake off. I was more concerned with not letting them score than my arm at the time. So I just brushed it off, and once it settled in, it's OK."
Dickson, Pitta give glimpse
The Ravens offensive resurgence after halftime was fueled, in part, by the play of tight ends Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta.
Dickson was targeted four times in the third quarter, catching two passes for 24 yards. Pitta caught both passes thrown in his direction, gaining 17 yards.
The duo helped quarterback Joe Flacco settle down, and they did it before former Ravens starting tight end Todd Heap.
"It's always good to have a good game versus your teacher," said Dickson, who finished with six catches for 46 yards. "He's a great mentor. There's nobody out there that's better than him. I just told him that I appreciated everything that he did for me. We just wanted to make plays for him. He taught us better than that. He would've had a problem with us if he saw us dropping balls."
The eagerly-anticipated return of Heap to the field at M&T Bank Stadium did not take place as expected because the Cardinals deactivated the No. 2 receiver in Ravens history. He sat out his third consecutive game due to a strained hamstring.
Pollard tees off on officiating
The Ravens set season highs in both penalties (11) and penalty yards (99) on Sunday, but two drew scrutiny from players.
Taunting calls on both strong safety Bernard Pollard and running back Ray Rice were questioned, and Pollard was especially annoyed for the flag, which occurred after he pushed Cardinals tight end Jeff King out of bounds after a nine-yard gain.
"I guess [the official] said I stood over him too long," Pollard recalled. "But I'm happy. Any time I hit somebody, any time I can do something for my team, we are happy, we get excited about that. And if you want to tell me, 'Don't get excited. No, no, no,' I'm going to get excited because that's what we have to do. This is a game of emotion and they can't take that from us, and they're trying to."
Reed, Carr, Zbikowski active
Safeties Ed Reed and Tom Zbikowski and cornerback Chris Carr were activated for Sunday's contest.
Reed, the seven-time Pro Bowler, missed practice Thursday after suffering a stinger Monday night's 12-7 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. But Reed returned to practice Friday — albeit on a limited basis — and was listed as probable on the team's final injury report of the week.
Carr, who had not played since Sept. 25 against the St. Louis Rams when he tweaked a left hamstring injury, was the defense's nickel back and sacked Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb in the third quarter.
Zbikowski (post-concussion symptoms) was limited to special teams. Pollard made his third straight start at strong safety.
The Ravens deactivated cornerbacks Danny Gorrer (thigh) and rookie Chykie Brown (illness), wide receiver Lee Evans (left ankle), left guard Ben Grubbs (strained ligaments in right toe), inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (hamstring), outside linebacker Sergio Kindle and rookie running back Anthony Allen (thigh). … Rookie Torrey Smith and Andre Gurode made their fourth consecutive starts for Evans and Grubbs, respectively. … Arizona scratched two more starters in free safety Kerry Rhodes (foot) and outside linebacker Joey Porter (knee). … Suggs and free safety Haruki Nakamura represented the Ravens for the coin toss.
Baltimore Sun reporter Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article.