The honors keep rolling in for Terrell Suggs.
Three days after becoming the Ravens’ all-time franchise leader in sacks, the four-time Pro Bowl linebacker was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week after his performance against the Steelers on Sunday.
Suggs certainly was deserving of the honor; the nine-year veteran tied a career-high with three sacks in a game, he forced two fumbles, had one tackle for loss, and posted five tackles overall.
His performance against Pittsburgh - a team he has absolutely dominated in his career, recording 13.5 sacks against the Steelers over his nine years in Baltimore - left teammates and coaches in awe after the game.
“Beast. He’s a beast,” linebacker Jarret Johnson said. “Every time he plays these guys, he has a big game. (71.5) career sacks - unbelievable. The guy, you can’t say enough about him. He’s a physical specimen, he’s a great leader, he’s everything that you think and more.”
“Terrell Suggs is a premier player,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s one of the best players in the National Football League. He’s one of the premier defensive players that everybody game plans around. He gets blocked every different kind of way a guy can get blocked, and he still finds a way to make plays. Plus, he’s one of the best leaders I’ve been around. This guy is one of the hardest working guys I’ve ever been around. He’s part of the heart and soul of our team and our defense.”
With the three sacks against the Steelers, Suggs overtook former Ravens linebacker Peter Boulware for the franchise’s all-time sack title. Suggs knew he needed 1.5 sacks coming into the game to tie Boulware’s career total of 70, and the Ravens’ first-round pick back in 2003 said he wanted to get the job done against Ben Roethlisberger and the boys from Pittsburgh.
“It’s huge, because that was never a goal of mine, to get the sack record,” Suggs said. “But then, when we reported this year, they said, ‘You’re only 1.5 away.’ So I was like, I’m close, I might as well do it against my rival. I had all my family in the stands, and it was opening day versus the Pittsburgh Steelers, so it was almost fate.”
Since Suggs’ down year in 2009 - a season he readily admits is one he isn’t proud of - the former Arizona State star has been an absolute terror to opposing quarterbacks.
He recorded 11 sacks and two forced fumbles during the 2010 regular season and added a whopping five sacks and a forced fumble in two postseason games, all while drawing consistent double teams.
Suggs certainly set the tone for the 2011 campaign against Pittsburgh on Sunday, and if he can continue to get after quarterbacks and force teams to send two or three players out to the edge to defend him, the Ravens should be able to exploit mismatches elsewhere along the line of scrimmage and give players clear shots at the quarterback.