Defense cranks up quarterback pressure

Pass rush nets four sacks, fourth-quarter fumbles

Ravens 24, Jaguars 17

Nfl Week 9

November 03, 2003|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Linebacker Terrell Suggs was part of a four-sack parade yesterday, a day in which Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Byron Leftwich was harassed through much of the Ravens' 24-17 win at M&T Bank Stadium.

Sitting at his locker afterward, though, Suggs, in what should have been a time for praise, instead said he wanted to see the production increased.

"We're at our best when we start pairing the sacks up, three people with a pair of sacks," Suggs said. "Then the pass rush will be in sync. We have to apply more pressure, especially on my half."

Suggs may want more, but at least the Ravens have a substance from which to build. It was the team's most successful pass-rushing day, with the big three - Suggs, Peter Boulware and Tony Weaver - hitting Leftwich on numerous occasions and each sacking the quarterback once.

The four sacks tie a season high set against the Cincinnati Bengals, and it was one of the unlikeliest Ravens who started the rush early.

Linebacker Cornell Brown, whom the Ravens depend on to be a run-stopper, sacked Leftwich six minutes into the game on a second-and-four play from the Jaguars' 19.

Brown rarely gets a chance to rush, but he came through the middle of the line on this play, jumped in the air after falling for a pump fake, then landed in front of Leftwich and brought down the 6-foot-5, 245-pound rookie for a 5-yard loss.

"When I get a sack, it's wonderful," Brown said. "You know we are getting to them. It was a good day for the outside 'backers."

Brown also could have included Weaver, a defensive end who rushes from the tackle position in passing situations. He and Boulware caused fumbles in the fourth quarter that helped produce 11 points and a two-touchdown lead.

Weaver had the defensive play of the day when he stripped Leftwich at the Jaguars' 24, then recovered the fumble.

That play helped set up a 23-yard Matt Stover field goal, putting the Ravens up 16-10 with 10:30 left in the game.

"Basically, I just beat that dude to the outside," said Weaver, who also batted down a pass and recorded four tackles. "I was fortunate to get a hand out and tip the ball. It just landed right in my hands."

Boulware ended the Jaguars' next drive the same way. On third-and-nine from the Jaguars' 23, Boulware stripped Leftwich from behind, and cornerback Tom Knight recovered the fumble.

Three plays later, Chester Taylor scored on a 29-yard run and the Ravens converted the two-point attempt to go up 24-10 and effectively seal the win.

Leftwich completed 22 of 34 passes for 208 yards. He had thrown for just 80 yards through the first three quarters.

"We had to get pressure on him, because he is a young quarterback but a good quarterback," Brown said. "He's a guy that sits in the pocket. Knowing that, we couldn't let him get comfortable back there."

The Ravens have 10 sacks over the past three games, with Boulware, who had been shut out the first six games of the season, accounting for three. The team had 11 in the first five games.

"We know as defensive linemen and pass rushers, if we can get to the quarterback, all the [receiver] routes are stopped," Boulware said.

"If we want to be a good team, we've got to get to the quarterback. All great defenses get to the quarterback."

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