New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady won't soon forget Ravens backup inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe.
Ellerbe decked Brady in the first quarter, sacking him for a loss of 9 yards during the Ravens' 31-30 victory Sunday night at M&T Bank Stadium. And Ellerbe combined with defensive tackle Haloti Ngata to split a sack for a loss of 7 yards in the fourth quarter.
"I always love to blitz when you get to come free," said Ellerbe, who finished with eight tackles and 1.5 sacks . "When the hole closes up on you, I don't like that. It's like you ran into a wall. I'll do whatever the coaches want, as long as I'm on the field. I just study the cadence and hit the blitz hard at full-speed."
Even though he's behind middle linebacker Ray Lewis and inside linebacker Jameel McClain on the depth chart, Ellerbe ranks second on the defense behind Lewis with 19 tackles. An undrafted free agent from Georgia, Ellerbe is tied with Ngata for the team lead with 2.5 sacks.
Ellerbe is in the final year of his contract and is making $1.927 million this season.
So far this year, they've been dividing playing time at inside linebacker with Ellerbe seeing more action in passing situations and McClain, who has nine tackles and no sacks, playing more against the run.