Ravens rush linebacker Terrell Suggs delivered a strong message Sunday, showing he's regained his 2011 NFL Defensive Player of the Year form.
Before Suggs exploited the Miami Dolphins' struggling offensive line with three sacks in the fourth quarter of a 26-23 win at Sun Life Stadium, he took notice of words of encouragement from his wife, Candace, and linebackers coach Ted Monachino.
"Ted Monachino said to me on the sideline, 'No. 55, it's time for you to make a play,'" Suggs said. "And I went out and did so. And then my wife, she told me to, 'Bring mama home three sacks. It was the fourth quarter and I was like, 'All right, it's time to get going. Mama said she wanted three, so I'm going to get three."
Suggs steamrolled past the Dolphins' blockers, combining power and speed to bolt past offensive tackle Jonathan Martin twice to sack quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Another time, Suggs bulled through the middle for a sack against a Miami offensive line that allowed six sacks Sunday and leads the NFL with 24 sacks surrendered this season.
"Terrell Suggs was just off the scale," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.
One year after being hampered by a partially torn Achilles tendon and a torn biceps, Suggs now has seven sacks in five games with at least one sack per game. That ties a franchise record for most consecutive games with at least a half-sack as he matched previous performances by Paul Kruger in 2012 and Adalius Thomas in 2005 and 2006.
"Man, he's a beast," strong safety James Ihedigbo said. "I told him, '... I'm glad you're on my team. That's Defensive Player of the Year Suggs right there. Three sacks in one quarter, you got to be kidding me."
Suggs is significantly lighter and quicker than he was a year ago when it proved difficult for him to get into optimal condition due to his injuries as he finished the season with a career-low 22 tackles and two sacks.
"Terrell Suggs has been Terrell Suggs for the longest time," cornerback Lardarius Webb said. "He's always been that guy to get to the quarterback and change the game the way he does. That makes our job easier."
Thin at receiver
The Ravens were unusually light on wide receivers Sunday due to several injuries.
With starting wide receiver Marlon Brown out with a strained hamstring that didn't respond well during warm-ups and Jacoby Jones missing his fourth game in a row with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee, the Ravens had just three active wide receivers. The Ravens cut veteran wide receiver Brandon Stokley on Saturday after he had a setback Friday with his hip flexor.
Despite the adversity, wide receivers Torrey Smith, Tandon Doss and Deonte Thompson got the job done.
"The guys came through," Harbaugh said.
Smith caught six passes for 121 yards with Doss contributing three catches for 58 yards, including a 40-yard reception and Thompson playing one week after suffering a concussion.
"I couldn't be more proud," Smith said. "Tandon, [Thompson] and myself fought. We knew going in there we would be shorthanded. We were going to need to make some plays regardless of how many reps we had to be in at receiver."
Dickson bounces back
Prone to drops and a frequent target for criticism during the first four games, tight end Ed Dickson finally had a productive outing.
Entering Sunday's game with six dropped passes and only three catches, Dickson caught both passes thrown in his direction. That included a 43-yard reception for the Ravens' longest offensive play.
"Ed Dickson played very well," Harbaugh said. "He made a huge play in the crossing route. I'm proud of Ed Dickson."
It's been a rough season for Dickson, who damaged his reputation with so many miscues with one of his dropped passes resulting in an interception for quarterback Joe Flacco against the Buffalo Bills.
As the replacement for Dennis Pitta while he recovers from a fractured, dislocated right hip, Dickson knew much more was expected out of him.
"It felt pretty good," Dickson said. "It's kind of past due, but you build on top of that. I still think the big game is coming, the best is yet to come.
"There's nothing that's going to get my confidence down. It's never going to be as good as you think it is or as bad as you think it is. Even professionals have to work on their craft."
Webb's leg holds up
Webb said he didn't aggravate his strained hamstring, starting one week after getting hurt and not finishing the game in a loss to the Bills.
Webb started and recorded four tackles and two pass deflections.
"At first I was kind of worried it might act up, but I didn't feel a thing," Webb said. "It came along, great win and I finished healthy."
Webb was primarily assigned to cover Dolphins $60 million wide receiver Mike Wallace, who caught seven passes for 105 yards on 16 targets. The Dolphins frequently went after Webb, but Wallace never got in the end zone.
"My goal personally was to stop Mike Wallace, or at least contain him," Webb said. "He's a great wide receiver, so you have to be on point when you are playing a guy like that."
Tucker hits game-winner
Ravens kicker Justin Tucker performed well in the clutch, booting a 44-yard game-winning field goal with 1:42 remaining.
It's the fourth game-winner of his career and capped a day where he connected on four field goals, including previous kicks from 42, 50 and 25 yards.
"It's definitely good to come in here and be able to get our first road win of the season," Tucker said. "It's definitely a good feeling to hop on the plane knowing as a team we got the job done and individually I was able to pull my weight."
Running back Ray Rice scored two touchdowns and now has 42 touchdowns for his career to move past tight end Todd Heap for second-place in franchise history. Only running back Jamal Lewis (47) has scored more career touchdowns for the Ravens. ... Besides Jones and Brown, the Ravens deactivated new offensive tackle Eugene Monroe, nose tackle Terrence Cody (sprained left knee), offensive guard Jah Reid, center Ryan Jensen (foot surgery) and defensive end Marcus Spears (knee). ... Ihedigbo thought he had intercepted the first pass of his NFL career, but it was overturned on instant replay when it was determined that he didn't get both feet in bounds. "It was a tough call," Ihedigbo said. "I thought I had both feet in, but my hand hit before my knee did." .. Former Ravens inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe left the game with a shoulder injury. ... Torrey Smith became the first Ravens player since Qadry Ismail in 1999 to post consecutive 100-yard receiving games with Ismail recording three in a row that season.