Ravens' Terrell Suggs wreaks havoc

BALTIMORE - Unaccustomed to driving on snowy roads, Terrell Suggs knocked down a light pole earlier this week. The Baltimore Ravens' rookie outside linebacker was unharmed. His cousin's car and the light pole weren't as fortunate, though. During a 31-13 win Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium, Suggs damaged the Cincinnati Bengals' hopes by sacking quarterback Jon Kitna twice to contribute to Baltimore's total of six sacks and five turnovers.

"He was rattled back there," said Suggs, the 10th overall pick of the first round who has 10 sacks this season. "He knew we were in his face and he couldn't get the ball to his receivers."

 Suggs' first sprint past Bengals left offensive tackle Levi Jones, a former Arizona State teammate, merely shut down a drive in the first quarter. His second sack came when Jones was out of the game in the third quarter with a knee injury. This speed rush helped slam the door on Cincinnati as Suggs sacked Kitna, stripped him and recovered the football. Three plays later, NFL rushing leader Jamal Lewis was in the end zone on another touchdown run and the Ravens had a 24-13 advantage. "It's kind of a blur, just being out there it seems like it's 200 miles per hour," Suggs said. "I was just out there running around." 

Suggs' play helped make up for the second-half absence of outside linebacker Adalius Thomas, who broke a bone in his arm and dislocated his elbow in the first half after colliding with teammate Ray Lewis. The efforts of a rookie who set an NCAA single-season mark with 24 sacks last fall also helped Pro Bowl outside linebacker Peter Boulware break free for two sacks. "He was getting to the quarterback and it made my job easier and it made everybody's job easier," Boulware said. "He's really doing a good job of getting to the quarterback right now." 

Suggs wasn't exactly strutting afterward. He was still feeling lucky that he wasn't hurt in the one-car accident that forced him to be an hour late for Friday's practice. "I was blessed," Suggs said. "My mom and my pastor pray for me." 

About the only thing Suggs was bragging about afterward was winning a bet. His Arizona high school, Chandler, defeated Ravens Pro Bowl tight end Todd Heap's prep team, Mountain View, in the state championship. "Todd's school is a powerhouse and they beat us my senior year," Suggs said. "We had a little bet going. I'm not going to tell you how much money, but he owes me some loot." As far as his growing repertoire of pass-rushing skills, Suggs said he couldn't take full credit. Suggs has been tutored intensively by retired Baltimore Pro Bowl defensive end Michael McCrary and defensive line coach Rex Ryan for most of the season. "If you look closely, they're Michael McCrary's moves," Suggs said. "I'm just borrowing them until I can perfect my own. I'm grateful. I need all the help I can get." 

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.

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