`D' turns up pressure on QB




A few weeks ago, Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan issued a warning. Ryan told those wondering when his unit would start producing more sacks to be patient and judge at the end of the year.

As the Ravens prepare to face the Chicago Bears tomorrow at Soldier Field, Ryan's words are coming to fruition. The Ravens are now tied for 16th in the league in sacks per play, a 16-spot increase over the past three games.

Much of the added pressure can be credited to Terrell Suggs, who forced a fumble recovered by Adalius Thomas in the second quarter against the Cleveland Browns. Suggs also hit quarterback Trent Dilfer's arm in the third quarter, forcing an errant pass intercepted by Ray Lewis.

"Those count for sacks," Suggs said of stripping the quarterback. "I'm definitely trying to get the strip, but more importantly, I'm trying to get my offense on a short field."

The sacks, as coaches like to say, have come in bunches for the Ravens, with four against the Browns and five two weeks earlier against the New York Jets.

They should have ample chances against Bears rookie quarterback Kyle Orton, who is averaging nearly 28 throws a game and has been sacked 12 times.

"To be able to put pressure on the quarterback, that's always going to be important," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "Different packages we have are beginning to show up."

R. Lewis sits again

For the third straight day, linebacker Ray Lewis did not practice, though the team says his thigh injury is nothing to worry about. Lewis is probable for the game.

"We've done this before," Billick said. "Ray takes a beating inside there sometimes. He watches and observes [practice] and is ready to go on Sunday."

Mark Clayton, Ed Reed and Ovie Mughelli also did not practice and are not expected to play.

Missed opportunity

The Ravens had interest in Bears receiver Muhsin Muhammad this past offseason but lost out on the first day of free agency. Actually, the team lost out on Muhammad, who has 27 catches for 298 yards this season, in the opening moments of free agency.

"Love the guy, big physical, makes plays," Billick said. "The Bears jumped on him very quickly; I think they signed him at 12:01 [a.m.]. It was the quickest contract negotiation. It's amazing you can put a contract together in one minute, and I give them credit for it because of course there was no contact before then."

Battle of defenses

The Bears will honor their 1985 Super Bowl team during halftime of Sunday's game. Billick could not resist giving Bears fans something to jeer about.

In a conference call with Chicago media, Billick was asked to compare the Ravens' Super Bowl defense of 2000 with that Bears defense.

"Ours was better," Billick said. "That ought to stir things up, eh? You talk about two magnificent defenses. There's always two benchmarks. The all-time leading scoring defense was not on their Super Bowl team. You can look at their Super Bowl [team], and that was magnificent. But at the end of the day, you look at the year in which they had the all-time scoring record [1986], they didn't go to the Super Bowl."


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