Terrell Suggs and Daryl Smith not only showed up on the stat sheet, but they were able to do things well that didn’t happen in their 49-27 debacle at the hands of the Denver Broncos.
Looking at the numbers, Suggs came to play with six total tackles, a sack for a total loss of two and constant pressures on Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden all day long. Smith led the Ravens and had a game-high 11 total tackles, 1.5 sacks for a total loss of 14.5 yards, two passes defended and a would-be interception that he missed.
Communication was the key for the Baltimore defense this week as it appeared these two men led their respective units much better against the lowly Browns. Sure, tight end Jordan Cameron did catch five balls for 95 yards, but 53 of them came on one blown coverage by rookie safety Matt Elam.
Any time the defense holds an opponent under 10 points your team should win, and the Ravens did just that. Pitching a virtual shutout defensively by keeping the Browns out of the end zone entirely, it is hard to just give one game ball out, hence why I’m giving out two.
Suggs is clearly back at 100 percent following the Achilles tendon injury he suffered during the offseason. He looks to be in better shape and the speed and athleticism has returned to normal. What also doesn’t hurt Suggs’ play-making abilities is the fact that Elvis Dumervil is rushing the quarterback on the opposite side. Early on, it appears as if this duo could produce double digit sack totals with relative ease. While it remains to be seen if Suggs is the voice and so-called “leader” of this defense, his play is certainly backing him up and leading by example.
The same can be said for Smith in terms of leading by example. While Suggs is more of a talker, Smith is a guy who isn’t necessarily known for talking and isn’t well-known across the league because he played with the Jacksonville Jaguars for eight seasons. However, he is highly-regarded among his peers, and according to Pro Football Focus he was listed as one of the Top 100 players in the NFL. Smith brings to this defense something former Ravens inside linebacker Ray Lewis didn’t bring – the ability to rush the passer from the middle of the 3-4 defense. He certainly played like the best defensive player on the field today, and that’s why he also earns a game ball in my eyes.