Suggs sacks Ravens' rookie record with 12

He aims higher after two vs. Browns pass Boulware

Nfl Week 16

Ravens 35, Browns 0

December 22, 2003|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

CLEVELAND - Terrell Suggs set the Ravens' rookie record for sacks after he recorded his 12th of the season in the fourth quarter of the team's 35-0 win over the Cleveland Browns yesterday. Suggs' eyes, though, are fixated on a grander honor.

"That's one milestone, and now I have to climb to the next one," Suggs said.

Although Suggs never went into detail on what that next one is, Ravens defensive line coach Rex Ryan broke the news.

"He told me he was out for the all-time rookie sack record," Ryan said. "Three more to go."

Tennessee Titans end Jevon Kearse set the NFL record with 14 1/2 sacks in 1999, but judging by how Suggs has performed in the second half of this season, that number is in jeopardy.

Suggs' two sacks against the Browns marked his third multi-sack game in the past five, and it also erased Peter Boulware's rookie record of 11 1/2 set in 1997.

"Pete was the first one to congratulate me," Suggs said.

Said Ravens coach Brian Billick: "The young man keeps showing up."

The Ravens recorded their first shutout in nearly two years, primarily because of a Suggs sack that caused a fumble in the second quarter, stopping one of the Browns' best scoring chances of the afternoon.

With the Ravens up 7-0 and 2:38 left in the first half, Cleveland quarterback Tim Couch moved his team 40 yards to the Ravens' 37 in less than a minute, thanks primarily to two penalties (a 15-yard unnecessary roughness call on Riddick Parker and an 11-yard pass interference on Ed Reed).

Couch then took a snap from the shotgun on first down but had little time to set up as Suggs, rushing uncharacteristically from an inside tackle position, sped past left guard Shaun O'Hara, stripped Couch from behind and recovered the fumble.

Sadly enough for the Browns, it was a play born out of confusion from the Ravens.

"We originally called a play, and it's one that Peter runs, but he got hurt and wasn't out there," Suggs said. "We had a guy line up, and he didn't know where he was supposed to line up so I just jumped in there and got the sack.

"I think it provided momentum. I'm not sure if we scored, but I know on one of the fumbles we scored."

That would be on Suggs' second sack, which came with just over 12 minutes left in the game and the Ravens up 14-0.

Suggs sacked Couch on third-and-10 from Cleveland's 24, using a similar move to swipe at the ball and force a fumble that Tony Weaver recovered.

Jamal Lewis scored on a 24-yard touchdown run a play later to seal the victory.

"I've got a little bit of confidence about myself," Suggs said. "I know the schemes better and what I can do against opposing tackles."

While teams do not generally keep track of this statistic, Suggs is probably equally close to setting the rookie record for caused fumbles on sacks.

Suggs has forced fumbles on four of his past six sacks. His six forced fumbles double the season total of Boulware, who is the only other Ravens to have more than two.

So adept is Suggs at getting to the quarterback and causing a turnover, he is starting to break out the sack celebrations.

"I love to dance," Suggs said. "Every time I get a sack, I'm going to throw another dance at y'all. Just look for the dancing."

His coaches will almost certainly be on the lookout.

"Time and time again, he's making big plays for us," Ryan said.

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