At the ripe age of 34, in his 14th year as a pro, coming off a year in which he suffered his second serious Achilles injury in four seasons, Terrell Suggs is once again an impact pass rusher for the Baltimore Ravens. Not even a torn bicep suffered in October could hold Suggs down for long, as the last few games have shown the quality of player he is even when injured.
In his 10 games thus far this year, Suggs has 8 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and 3 passes defensed, to go along with his 26 total tackles. This 12-sack pace would equal the second-highest output of his career while playing half the year with a torn bicep.
In Week 10, Suggs spent much of the game matched up with maybe the best left tackle of this generation, Cleveland’s Joe Thomas, and inspite of this, he was able to have a good deal of success, on the play above we see the two veterans matched up with Suggs registering a sack/fumble.
The first thing to notice on this rush is Suggs’ alignment pre-snap, he’s lined up very wide, giving him a more direct line to the spot where he expects the quarterback to be based on the situation. His angle of attack after the snap is one that allows him to intersect Thomas at the very top of the tackles’ pass set, and to take on his outside half. These are the types of things that veteran pass-rushers are able to do to put themselves in the best possible opportunity to make a big play.
At the point of contact, Suggs times his strike perfectly, using a long strike with his inside hand to Thomas’ outside shoulder, which prevents the tackle from squaring up on him at the top of his set, limited Thomas’ ability to use his hands, and opened the gate for Suggs to win the corner. Once he wins, Suggs shows the finishing ability that separates good pass-rushers from the great ones, as he accelerates and attacks the football with his outside arm as Thomas attempts to restrict the inside arm.
This is as pure as it gets for an edge rusher, no matter if they’re 34 or 24 years old.
Now in the Ravens week 12 matchup with the division rival Bengals, Suggs is matched up with second-year tackle Cedric Ogbuehi, and once again, attacks from a wide alignment and at an angle which allows him to intersect the blocker at the top of his set.
This time however, Suggs uses the explosiveness to make Ogbuehi react to the speed outside rush like the one from the prior highlight, before converting to a power rush that attacks Ogbuehi’s inside shoulder, using his inside hand along with the tackles’ momentum to force Ogbuehi further upfield, opening the door for Suggs to sack quarterback Andy Dalton, and once again, attack the football.
Now back to week 10 versus Cleveland, this time, Suggs is coming inside on a T-E stunt, and shows impressive athleticism scooping inside two full gaps, and crossing the face of the center who sees him coming but over sets to the left, leaving the opposite A-gap open, and Suggs flies through it, using his right arm to knock away the blockers’ hand, and affecting the quarterback as he attempts to make the throw down the field.
The continued high level of play from Suggs, despite multiple upper and lower body injuries, and a complete overhaul of the talent around him, is nothing short of remarkable and has been a key to the Ravens’ defensive success, and their standing in a tie first place in the AFC North.