Carroll County Times

Ravens Notebook: Suggs, pass rush key in win

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. - Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs joked after the game that his wife told him beforehand to "bring Mama home three sacks."
"It came down the stretch in the fourth quarter," Suggs said. "And I said, 'All right, Mama said she wanted three, so go get it."
But while Suggs may have been playful after the game, he was once again dominant during it, leading a Baltimore pass rush that sacked Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill six times.
Suggs didn't have any sacks during the first three quarters, but he had three during the fourth, likely making Mama happy but, more importantly to the Ravens, helping them escape Miami with a 26-23 win Sunday.
Two of Suggs' sacks came with the game tied at 23 and around just five minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Miami took over possession with a chance at a potentially decisive go-ahead score, but Suggs sacked Tannehill on first down and then again on third down to force a Dolphins punt.
"Terrell Suggs was just off the scale," Ravens coach John Harbaugh.
And he has been for much of Baltimore's first five games.
For whatever other issues the Ravens may have, Suggs once again looks like the dominant player he was when he won NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2011.
Suggs has 36 tackles and seven sacks through Baltimore's first five games, putting him on pace to finish the year with 115 tackles and 22 sacks.
By recording a sack Sunday, he became just the third player in Ravens history to post a sack in five straight games.
"Man, that guy is a freak of nature," Baltimore safety James Ihedigbo said of Suggs. "'Sizz,' he played phenomenal."
But it wasn't just Suggs.
The Ravens' pass rush as a whole, as it has been for much of the early part of the season, was consistently disruptive and impactful Sunday.
Suggs had the three sacks. Elvis Dumervil had a sack. So did Pernell McPhee and Courtney Upshaw.
Baltimore believed it had the makings of a potentially special pass rush when it signed Dumervil back in March. And through five games, the Ravens have 19 sacks, second-most in the NFL heading into Sunday night.
"It's awesome, man," Dumervil said. "We're excited about it. We've got a lot of guys inside that are giving a good push, so the sky's the limit."
TORREY STEPS UP: The Ravens have plenty of question marks offensively, but the play of wide receiver Torrey Smith was a consistent bright spot through their first four games and was again on Sunday.
Smith had six catches for 121 yards, including a contested 14-yard catch late in the fourth quarter to help set up what proved to be a game-winning field goal from Justin Tucker.
"I don't know how many catches Torrey had, but he had a great game," Baltimore right guard Marshal Yanda said.
Smith has at least four catches and at least 85 yards in each of Baltimore's first five games.
He's currently on pace to finish the year with 86 catches for 1,779 yards.
WEBB BOUNCES BACK: Baltimore cornerback Lardarius Webb was beaten some by Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace during the first quarter and a half, but Webb fared much better from there and helped the Ravens hold Wallace to just one catch in the second half.
Wallace had six catches for 99 yards in the first half, but he had just the one catch for six yards in the second.
Webb had a diving bat down late in the fourth quarter on a pass intended for Wallace. By doing that, Webb forced Miami into a third-and-long situation, and it was eventually forced to punt.
Webb left last week's game against the Buffalo Bills with a thigh injury, and he didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday of last week, but he played the majority of the game Sunday.
He struggled some against Wallace early, but he finished with four tackles and two pass deflections.
"I felt good," Webb said. "At first, I was worried that my thigh might act up, but I didn't feel a thing, and I finished."
RECORD BOOK: Ravens running back Ray Rice was limited to just 74 yards on 27 carries Sunday, but he did have two rushing touchdowns.
The second touchdown was the 42nd of Rice's Baltimore career, moving him past Todd Heap into sole possession of second place on the Ravens' all-time touchdown list.
Jamal Lewis is in first place with 47.
MCKINNIE STARTS: In what may be his final start as a Raven, left tackle Bryant McKinnie got the start Sunday against the Dolphins.
Baltimore traded for left tackle Eugene Monroe earlier in the week, but Monroe wasn't able to acclimate himself to the Ravens' scheme and terminology in time to play Sunday.
And as he had through the first four games, McKinnie once again looked to be more a detriment to the offensive line than an asset on Sunday.
He appeared to provide little push in the running game and also surrendered consistent pressure.
He was largely to blame for quarterback Joe Flacco's interception that was returned for a touchdown during the fourth quarter. He was beaten around the corner by Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan, and Jordan hit Flacco's arm while Flacco was throwing, which led to the interception.
OSEMELE SITS: Left guard Kelechi Osemele started on Sunday, but he was pulled during the first quarter and didn't return.
Harbaugh said that Osemele experienced back spasms during pre-game warmups and that the back tightened up on Osemele during the game.
"He went the first series, but he couldn't go," Harbaugh said.
Osemele was replaced by A.Q. Shipley.
INACTIVES: Wide receivers Jacoby Jones and Marlon Brown were both inactive for Baltimore, which left the Ravens with just three wide receivers for Sunday's game.
Monroe was also inactive. So were defensive tackle Terrence Cody (knee), defensive tackle Marcus Spears (knee), center Ryan Jensen (foot) and guard Jah Reid.
ELLERBE INJURED: Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe left Baltimore for a five-year, $35 million contract with the Dolphins during the spring.
Ellerbe had a fumble recovery during the first half Sunday, but he left during the first half with a shoulder injury and didn't return to the game.