By Aaron Wilson
The Baltimore Sun
3:54 PM EST, November 26, 2013
It was three weeks ago when Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs barreled into the Cleveland Browns' backfield to sack quarterback Jason Campbell.
Since the first week of November, though, Suggs has been shut out as a pass rusher with zero sacks while recording a combined seven tackles and one fumble recovery in the past three games.
"I was thinking about that, too, but it wasn't like I wasn't winning [matchups]," Suggs said. "I can't get down on myself. I've still got games left, and I'm going to continue to play."
In the midst of a resurgent season after being limited last season due to a partially torn Achilles tendon and a torn biceps, Suggs was stonewalled by Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth. The 2011 NFL Defensive Player of the Year got stuck in the mud against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field, frequently stopped at the line of scrimmage as he was unable to gain traction to pressure quarterback Josh McCown.
During a 19-3 win over the New York Jets on Sunday, Suggs got penetration frequently while teammates sacked rookie quarterback Geno Smith three times.
"I don't think anybody could count Chicago, it was just a terrible field to play on," Suggs said. "Me and Whitworth had some battles, but he just happened to win. We won the game, so I'll take that. I didn't get one last week, but facing Rex Ryan, not giving up a touchdown, and winning, I'll take that, too."
During this span when Suggs has hit a lull at rushing the passer, bookend outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil has benefited from any increased blocking attention paid to Suggs with four sacks in the past three games.
"Sacks are going to come when they come," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said when asked what's led to Suggs' decreased production. "He's getting a lot of pressure. We're hitting quarterbacks. We're flushing quarterbacks out of the pocket. We're forcing them to throw before they want to throw.
"Our pass rush has been good. Terrell Suggs and Elvis, all of our guys, they're all part of that. But he's rushing the passer just fine."
Suggs has nine sacks and 67 tackles, ranking second on the defense behind Dumervil's 9.5 sacks and behind middle linebacker Daryl Smith's 89 tackles.
"He's just a disruptive player," defensive end Chris Canty said of Suggs. "He's forcing teams to double and triple-team him. He's geting in the backfield, forcing running backs to change direction, forcing quarterbacks out of the pocket, making things uncomfortable.
"He's being very disruptive as a football player. You're not going to see that on the stat sheet all the time, but he's having a heck of a football season. I'm excited to be lining up next to that guy every week."
Suggs has a strong track record of sacking Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Suggs has sacked Roethlisberger 16.5 times, including the playoffs, the most any NFL defensive player has sacked the quarterback.
In 20 career regular-season games against the Steelers, Suggs has 95 tackles, 14.5 sacks, two interceptions, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
"Being that he is the hardest guy to tackle, it's something I really take pride in and I'm really happy," Suggs said. "It also doesn't count because I play him two times a year. I guess you have to compare against a guy who's not in his division that he doesn't see every year."
The Steelers have won three consecutive games and have climbed back to 5-6 after an 0-4 start.
"I really checked out Ben, and he has looked like he's getting back to being Ben, shaking guys off and making plays just when you think the play is broke down," Suggs said. "I think that's when he's at his best, when he's most comfortable. They definitely have gotten a lot better, and we realize that."