Baltimore Ravens’ Terrell Suggs Commits Bush League Act Against E.J. Manuel

Timothy T. Ludwig- USA TODAY Sports

If you happened to watch the end of the Buffalo Bills-Baltimore Ravens game, you would know that the game ended — with some escalated emotions because of the actions of outside linebacker Terrell Suggs toward Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel.

Manuel was in victory formation for the Bills with less than a minute remaining as the Ravens were out of timeouts. It was third down and with a 40-second play clock, and the Bills would’ve been left with roughly 8-10 secs on fourth down.

Manuel snapped the ball and instead of traditionally going right to his knees to burn the clock, Manuel stood in the pocket and tried burning a few extra seconds off the clock in order to minimize the chances of the Ravens touching the ball again.

And if that happened with no issues, the Bills would have held the ball and ran out the clock on fourth down on offense, as they would have snapped the ball and waited until the clock struck triple zeroes to fall to the ground and win the football game.

That wasn’t what happened though… not even close.

Suggs made the decision to tackle Manuel and grab him by the breast plate, spinning him to the ground. Now before you say I’m crazy for being hot about a virtual non-issue, hear me out.

Suggs didn’t have to do that whatsoever. The outcome was inevitable. Keep in mind, the Bills were trying to run out the clock beforehand on their previous drive with Manuel, and that backfield and he nearly fumbled the game away on an option exchange in his own red zone.

They wanted to get out of that game as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Manuel made no move to try and make a first down or cross up the Ravens’ defense. Instead, Suggs tried to be a hero and make a play that wasn’t there to begin with.

I understand that the play is live until the whistle blows. I understand that Manuel was the ball carrier and that technically, Suggs should do whatever he can to bring him down on a regular basis. But, it was a victory formation. This isn’t bush league of Suggs, but it was close and it did warrant a penalty.

The way he grasped the chest plate of Manuel and twisted his body could have caused serious injury … imagine the Bills’ reaction then? And what if this had happened to Joe Flacco?

What would the reaction have been?

I understand Suggs’ mindset that he needs to treat every down like it’s his last, but nothing was going to come from that play. Manuel was holding that ball for dear life because it was not only his second career home victory, but his second victory as an NFL starting quarterback. He can also say he defeated the defending Super Bowl champions… what’s better than that for a young man?

If I was in Suggs’ shoes, I’m not making the tackle. I’m letting Manuel down the ball. Maybe I’m a terrible human being for wanting to win and lose with class and respect, but letting the Bills have a victory that was going to happen anyway isn’t exactly surrendering or quitting on the team before the final whistle blows.

It’s the right thing to do. You never try to hit someone when they are vulnerable like Manuel. Football is a game of respect. Whether or not Suggs had an intent to injure Manuel remains to be seen, but I’ll leave that up to you.

Jeffrey Kryglik is a writer for Follow him on twitter at Jeff_Krygliklike him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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  • engine__ear

    I will have to respectfully disagree with you Jeffery. Our disparity is that you contend Manuel was clearly kneeing while I will contend that is exactly what he was trying NOT to do.

    I could cite the preceding play to argue about Manuel’s intent (which I think was to drop back over 5 yards and remain on his feet until reached by a defensive player), but the facts are far simpler. As Josh Alper for NBC’s Pro Football Talk points out, Manuel was giving himself up, but clearly was not going down immediately after the snap (as the league frequently says is the responsibility of the QB in so-called “victory formation”). Manuel was evidently not kneeling.

    The responsibility of the defense in response therefore is two-fold. The first is to down the QB as quickly as possible to save time. Many would contend that is their only responsibility which Suggs could have accomplished with a simple push.

    What you and many fail to consider here however is their second responsibility when making a tackle: to try to force a fumble (in fact you highlight that Manuel fumbled just minutes prior). Suggs is not so absentminded that his enthusiasm induced an inappropriate and futile show of force as you contend here. He made a smart play when a QB was clearly leaving himself open for a hit that could dislodge the ball.

    Mostly I disagree that much of your argument is based on saying the outcome was inevitable. That is far from the case which sports show us all the time. No one would be saying the force was “unnecessary” nor the result of the game unavoidable if the ball came out.

    Finally, what good could possibly come from injuring Manuel during that play? Why would Suggs or anyone else want to do that (especially at the END of a game!)? It doesn’t win the game and it risks fines and suspension. They want to make more money and they want to win. A fumble could do both. What do you think Suggs was really trying to do?

  • Kevin Kim

    Manuel snapped the ball and instead of traditionally going right to his knees to burn the clock. Which he shouldn’t have done in the first place. Naturally you are gonna want to take advantage of whatever situation is given to you. Play every down like its your last. You are going to want to force a fumble in that situation. Sir do you even know what the score was? It’s the NFL. You never know what’s going to happen until you try. If Suggs forced that fumble there would have been highlights everywhere. EJ may have been protecting that ball for his life but you never know whats truly going to happen.. He could have been peanuted.