Terrell Suggs has huge game in losing cause

BALTIMORE -- In a losing cause, Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs delivered one of the top performances of his career. Suggs recorded 1 1/2 sacks, three tackles for losses and five quarterback hits in a 13-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, constantly harassing quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on Sunday night at M&T Bank Stadium

"He's a heck of a player," Roethlisberger said. "We kept trying to change our blocking schemes on him, and he got through. One time after a play, I looked at him and he was bleeding from the mouth. I was bleeding from the nose. That says it all about a Ravens-Steelers football game." Suggs was relentless in chasing down Roethlisberger and had consecutive tackles for losses during a goal-line stand in the second half.

… "He's a beast, he's a beast," Ravens outside linebacker Jarret Johnson said. "He plays his ass off. I can't say enough about him. We watched some highlights and like the first 10 plays were all Terrell's plays. He kicked ass all night. The guy's a beast." Suggs leads the Ravens with nine sacks. Signed to a six-year, $62.5 million contract last year prior to a career-worst season where he was held to 3 1/2 sacks, Suggs is having a resurgent campaign. "Terrell played fantastic," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "He broke the huddle for us. Terrell was a dominant player. He's one of the premier players in the league, and he played great." It was arguably one of the best games of Suggs' career. However, the three-time Pro Bowl pass rusher took no satisfaction out of his five tackles. "We didn't win," Suggs said. "You can say you had a good game, but that wouldn't be the best one. I think plays were left on the field and even some momentum." Suggs was unable to force Roethlisberger to fumble in the fourth quarter as the elusive quarterback wriggled out of his grasp to throw it away. "I was trying to strip it," Suggs said. "I didn't even know he was outside the tackle box. Once I did strip the ball, I was just going to bring him down. Me and him, I think we weigh the same. "He threw the ball out of bounds, and they score in the next two plays. I didn't get it. Grenades and horseshoes. In this game, almost doesn't cut it." The Ravens (8-4) fell one game behind the Steelers (9-3) in the AFC North, a major setback in the playoff race. "We're going to move on because if we let this get to us, not only can we not lose the division, but we can still slip farther down the line and not make the playoffs at all," Suggs said. "But we're going to move on. It's going to suck. "It's going to hurt tonight, but the moment I get home, I'm going to kiss both of my babies and get over it. They don't really care what happened today. I may have some diapers to change. Daddy will be Daddy."

… Despite Suggs' reaction to the game, his teammates were extremely impressive about the impact he made. Suggs has 5 1/2 sacks in his past five games and has 66 ½ sacks for his career. "We were aware of it," cornerback Chris Carr said. "We could hear the sacks, and we could hear everyone cheering out there. We were covering for a long time, and it's good. "Suggs is one of those players who is one of the best in the league, and he had a great game tonight. Unfortunately, we just didn't get the job done."

… ROETHLISBERGER GUTS IT OUT: Despite an aggravated broken foot and a bloody, broken nose twisted awkwardly into a strange shape, Roethlisberger refused to lose. The gritty signal caller propelled his team into sole possession of first place atop the AFC North. The Steelers were led by Roethlisberger, who threw the game-winning touchdown pass to fullback Isaac Redman in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Sacked three times and hit numerous others, Roethlisberger completed 22 of 38 passes for 253 yards as he broke the Ravens' eight-game home winning streak that dated back to last season. And Roethlisberger endured a lot of pain on his way to winning the game after being smashed in the face by massive Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata during the first half. "Sometime in the first half, I got hit in the face," Roethlisberger said. "I didn't even realize it was that bad until I went over to the sidelines and guys were looking at me funny. .. "I looked real quick. It hopefully will be fixed tomorrow. It looks like I just went 12 rounds with (Manny) Pacquiao." What about the broken foot? "It hurt a lot, but that broken nose took some of the pain away," Roethlisberger said. Roethlisberger never missed a snap. And he engineered a pivotal win despite losing tight end Heath Miller to a concussion and offensive tackle Flozell Adams with a high ankle sprain.

… "Ben's a warrior," wide receiver Hines Ward said. "He's a winner. He gives us a great chance to win every time. I love the way he plays. We really had a lot of injuries out there tonight, and we just hung in there."

… The Ravens tipped their hats to Roethlisberger, extremely respectful of his toughness and ability. "That's his thing," said cornerback Josh Wilson, who intercepted Roethlisberger once. "He's going to get hit, and he's going to break loose. He's a tough guy, a great player."

… FRUSTRATION BUBBLES OVER FOR MASON: As far as postgame rants are concerned, this wasn't a full-scale volcanic eruption. It was more of a slow boil as veteran wide receiver Derrick Mason expressed his frustrations with a faltering offense that proved costly. The Ravens generated a meager total of three points and 96 yards in the second half. "You wonder why you come back and play after stuff like this, because there ain't no way, I mean, Pittsburgh's a good team, can't take it away from them, but there's no way we should have lost this game," Mason said. "Seriously. This just makes me personally wonder why I came back. To play in a game like this and to lose a game like this, it hurts worse than any other game. "It's sad to say, but we're not a good offense at times. We're really aren't. For whatever reason it is, I don't know. But we're not a good offense at times. I'm not pointing any fingers at anybody, because I'm a part of the equation, but we're just not a good offense at times, and it showed up today."

… The Ravens feature a Pro Bowl player at virtually every skill position, including Mason and fellow wide receivers Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, tight end Todd Heap, running back Ray Rice and fullback Le'Ron McClain. "All these people that we've got on offense, I'll get crucified for this one,but all the people that we've got on offense, we're not a good offense at times, we're really not," Mason said. "You just call it how you see it. Call a spade a spade. If we were a good offense, we'd be moving the ball up and down the field, especially with the people that we have and the quarterback that we have. I have a lot of confidence in our personnel, but we're just not a good offense at times."

… Quarterback Joe Flacco completed 17 of 33 passes for 266 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions for an 88.7 passer rating. However, he was sacked four times and lost a fumble on a Troy Polamalu blitz that led to the Steelers' game-winning touchdown.

… In the second half, Flacco was held to 87 passing yards and no scores. on 8 of 19 accuracy. In the first half, he completed 9 of 14 passes for 179 yards and a touchdown. The offense hit a lull after halftime. So, what's the solution?

… "I don't know, I really don't know," Mason said. "We've just got to put this behind us and move forward. We can't allow games to get away from us like this. We make games tough for ourselves for some strange reason. I don't know if we like playing the tough games. Is that the model of the Ravens? I don't know. I'm tired of playing the tough games, man.

… "Let's just go blow somebody out, because we're capable of doing it, and we just don't do it. Nobody says that we shouldn't be able to come out and put up 30 points against a very good team, especially with the personnel we've got. Heard it from me: We're not a good offense at times." The Ravens' defense sacked Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger three times and held Pittsburgh to 288 yards of total offense. "Defense played lights out," Mason said. "They came to play. That defense came to play, man. They were buzzing around the ball, getting to Roethlisberger, making big hits. Offense didn't help them in the second half. I know it gets frustrating for those guys.

… "I know it has to, because you could see their faces coming off the sideline. But, we're in it as a team, and we're going to fight. But, those guys get frustrated, and rightfully so, because we're not doing the job in the second half." The Ravens have been falling into a pattern of squandering leads this season, much to Mason's frustration.

… "It's the same old stuff every week," Mason said. It builds character that you're able to fight through some things, and I understand that you've got to go through some things to be able to come out of it and know how to win, but it's got to come to a point where we stop all the [expletive] and just play football. Just put some points on the board and not allow teams to be able to come back in the second half. Not put the pressure on our defense to have to stop somebody in the last minute of the game. Let's just [expletive] put some points on the board and move forward. "We're all in this together. I've never been one to point a finger, and I'm not going to do it now. All of us, collectively, all 11 guys on offense, plus the guys on the side, the backups, all of us. We've got to make up our mind - do we want to be a good offense or a great offense? We're neither right now at times. So, we've just got to make up our mind which one do we want to be? Because good offenses make it to the playoffs. Great offenses make it to the Super Bowl."

… It's gotten to a point where Mason is wondering if the offense will ever become consistent. "It has to come to a point where after, what 10, 12, 13 weeks now, we have to be able to consistently be effective," Mason said. "We're not. We look great at times, and then other times, man, we look like the Bad News Bears sometimes. Honestly. I'm speaking. We do. And I'm a part of it. So, we've got to be able to, each and every down, each and every quarter, each and every half, be a great offense, and we're not there yet."

… HEAP INJURES HAMSTRING: On the Ravens' first play from scrimmage, tight end Todd Heap pulled his hamstring and didn't return. Heap was running a fly route when he grabbed the back of his leg. He wasn't in the locker room after the game. It's unclear what's the severity of his injury. He was replaced by rookie tight end Ed Dickson, who recovered from a drop to finish with three receptions for 21 yards. "It took us out of one package, so it wasn't a killer," Harbaugh said. "I thought the two tight ends did a good job after Ed dropped the first pass. He made some plays for us. I thought he played okay."

… MCCLAIN DEACTIVATED: The Ravens went without a fullback Sunday. Despite insisting he was ready to play Friday, Pro Bowl fullback Le'Ron McClain was deactivated due to a sprained ankle. The Ravens didn't have a true fullback active, also scratching newly-acquired fullback Jason McKie.

… [McClain] was a little gimpy," Harbaugh said. "We worked on the three tight end stuff all week, and we felt like the packages were very similar. What I didn't want to do is put ourselves in a position to run packages we hadn't practiced. Plus, the two tight end stuff and the three tight end stuff that we had was pretty good against their outside pass rush."

… BANGED-UP: It was a costly victory for the Steelers, losing punter Daniel Sepulveda for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Sepulveda was able to hold for field goals in the second half, but won't play again this year. He'll need surgery and the Steelers will need to sign a new punter once he's placed on injured reserve.

… This is the second time that Sepulveda has tore his ACL, suffering the same injury two years ago. He was replaced as the punter by kicker Shaun Suisham after he injured his knee Sunday night. Sepulveda had been averaging 45.5 yards per punt this season.

… "Danny has got an ACL injury, that's unfortunate of course," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "He wanted to help his teammates. He was able to hold for the remainder of the game. Respect him for that. Of course, we've got to get that looked at and fixed." Besides quarterback Ben Roethlisberger breaking his nose on a Haloti Ngata hit, offensive tackle Flozell Adams left the game with a high ankle sprain and tight end Heath Miller suffered a concussion on a crushing tackle from inside linebacker Jameel McClain.

… "A laundry list of injuries," Tomlin said. "Ben's got a broken nose. He's going to be fine other than the discomfort that comes with that. I'm sure there will be more bumps and bruises. It always is when these two teams come together." McClain declined to comment after the …game.

… TOUGH NIGHT: The Ravens' pass protection wasn't particularly sharp, allowing four sacks and eight quarterback hits.

… Offensive tackle Michael Oher was penalized for false starts and a holding penalty. The holding infraction was declined. Oher was playing with a sprained knee. He said the Ravens weren't surprised by the Steelers' pass rush schemes. "No, we'd basically seen everything and I think we did a pretty good job of picking up everything," Oher said.

… However, the Ravens failed to block strong safety Troy Polamalu in the fourth quarter when he blitzed and forced Flacco to fumble. "I don't know, we've probably got to watch film on it," Oher said. "He's a great player. We've got to account for 43 at all times, we can't let him get out of our sights. So, we've just got to watch film and look to see what we did wrong."

… MILESTONE: Wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh passed the 7,000-yard receiving mark for his career with his eight-yard reception.

… TRICKERY: The Ravens tried to run a fake punt where long snapper Morgan Cox snapped it directly to safety Haruki Nakamura. Nakamura was set to run for a first down when the play was blown dead because of linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo jumping offsides.

… QUICK HITS: The Ravens deactivated McClain, McKie, cornerback Cary Williams, linebackers Jason Phillips and Dannell Ellerbe, defensive tackle Arthur Jones and Lamar Divens and offensive guard Bryan Mattison. … Safety Tom Zbikowski returned after missing five games with a bruised right heel. Chris Chester started at right guard after missing the previous two games with a lower leg infection. … Dawan Landry (concussion) and Oher both played after suffering injuries last week. … The Steelers deactivated running back Jonathan Dwyer, cornerback Crezdon Butler, offensive tackles Tony Hills and Chris Scott, defensive end Steve McClendon, tight end Matt Spaeth, defensive end Aaron Smith and third quarterback Charlie Batch."

… … The Ravens limited wide receiver Hines Ward to one reception for 13 yards. Ward criticized Harbaugh for giving him a "fake handshake" during the previous game at Heinz Field.

…… The Ravens distributed purple towels to fans, reacting to the Steelers' traditional terrible towels. … Steelers owner Dan Rooney flew in for the game from Ireland, where he's the United States' ambassador. Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti made it a point to seek out Rooney in the press box prior to kickoff. … Middle linebacker Ray Lewis, running back Ray Rice, Heap and free safety Ed Reed were the Ravens' game captains for the coin toss.

… .. The Ravens wore purple jerseys and black pants, a color configuration unseen in Baltimore since 1998, according to equipment manager Ed Carroll.

… Cornerback Lardarius Webb had a 35-yard punt return. … In the last 16 regular season games dating back to 2003, Baltimore and Pittsburgh have each won eight times. In five of the last six games, the margin of victory has been only three points. The other game was a four-point difference. … In his last nine home games, Joe Flacco is 8-1 and has thrown 17 touchdowns and just one interception. Flacco has at least one touchdown pass in seven consecutive games this season, tying the second-best streak of his career.

… … Anquan Boldin finished with the 30th 100-yard game of his career, catching five passes for 118 yards and a touchdown. … Kicker Billy Cundiff booted three touchbacks. He leads the NFL with 34 touchbacks.

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