As much as a Steelers fan might want or hope to deny it, Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker has been one of the great players at his position during his tenure in the league, which spans all the way back to 2003. And on Thursday night, he showed that he could still be a dominant player, not only at the age of 34—not only with a torn biceps—but also against elite competition.
To be specific, that elite competition was not “the Browns”, who are the worst team in the league this season, but specifically left tackle Joe Thomas, who may be the best player to ever play for a team that is this bad. Thomas is a perennial All-Pro and an inevitable Hall of Famer in the future. But Suggs made him pay a few times on Thursday Night Football.
The big one that will be highlighted, of course, would be the late sack in the fourth quarter in which he patiently waited for the quarterback to cock his arm back before swiping down and tomahawking the ball loose for a fumble that essentially sealed the game.
That sack was the sixth on the season for Suggs in eight games played, which it double the amount of sack production that anybody on the Steelers has this year, and that is coming off a season in which he tore his Achilles in the opener and did not even record a statistic.
But Suggs did post 12 sacks in 2014 and 10 in 2013. He played through a bicep tear in 2012, during which he struggled and had just two sacks, but he had 25 sacks combined in 2011 and 2010. He had notched 112.5 sacks and counting over the course of his career, including 28 forced fumbles.
But there is no statistic for assisted sacks, nor assisted turnovers, and he had one of each of those as well against the Ravens. On one play, he was able to hit the arm of the quarterback as he threw, which led to an interception. That play also came against Joe Thomas. On another play, his own pressure directly led to the opening of an opportunity for his teammate to record a sack.
The Ravens have had a significant reversal of fortunes over the course of the past week, considering where they came from and where they had to go. While they started the season with three consecutive victories, they spent the entire month of October without one, going 0-4 and falling to 3-4 heading into their bye week.
The Steelers had their bye week at the same time, and the two teams met on the other end of it, with the Ravens coming out on top. That victory put them in the driver’s seat for the division lead, and the victory over the Browns four days later bolstered their position, now at 5-4 and a game in hand. The play of the defense, with Suggs at the forefront of it, has been keeping the team above water.