Suggs is Chief irritant

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Ravens 20 Chiefs 10

Ravens Gameday

December 11, 2006|By EDWARD LEE | EDWARD LEE,SUN REPORTER

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- No one would accuse Terrell Suggs of being shy or quiet.

The fourth-year linebacker/defensive end is one of the most boisterous personalities in the Ravens' locker room, and that passion spilled out during the team's 20-10 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium yesterday.

After tackling Kansas City running back Larry Johnson, Suggs mocked the league's second-leading rusher by flashing Johnson's "dynasty" sign, which the running back usually reserves for celebrating touchdowns.

"I was throwing it down actually to disrespect him," Suggs said with a smile. "If he's got a problem with it, him or [rapper] Jay-Z [who initiated the gesture] can call me. I was letting him know that it was the utmost [sign of] disrespect, and that's why I was trying to set the tone, to let him know that I was going to be in his grill all day."

Johnson seemed to remember Suggs' tactics, saying, "When you give extracurriculars after the play and stuff like that, you have to respect the runner now. You're supposed to be a top-notch defense, and you've got to try everything possible to take me out of my game, and it's just not going to happen."

Johnson gained 120 yards - his ninth 100-yard game of the season - on 23 carries, but did not score a touchdown for only the fourth time this season.

Part of the defense's success in containing Johnson yesterday had to do with Suggs, who led the Ravens with nine tackles and seemed to run all over the field. But Suggs' signature play occurred just 4:55 into the second quarter.

With the Ravens clinging to a 6-0 lead and the Chiefs threatening at the Ravens' 31-yard line, Suggs jumped quarterback Trent Green's snap count and rushed in from the left side of the defensive line.

Curling around Kansas City right tackle John Welbourn, Suggs knocked the ball out of Green's right hand before he could bring it up to pass. Suggs jumped on the loose ball and recovered it at the 31, overtaking linebackers Adalius Thomas and Peter Boulware for the franchise lead in forced fumbles with 14.

"I just got into his rhythm," Suggs said of the play. "When you've got a quarterback's rhythm in the game, you can be a pretty deadly pass rusher. So I knew the ball was coming on one. So I just got off of the ball and stretched. I knew that they had just made a big play downfield on us [a 19-yard pass to wide receiver Dante Hall], and we needed a play to be made on defense. That's what I did."

Still, Suggs didn't buy into the notion that the Ravens' defense had unnerved Green, who also threw two interceptions.

"I don't think he got rattled at all," Suggs said. "We're just a really good defense, and we were at the right place at the right time."

edward.lee@baltsun.com

Going after Gonzalez

With Chiefs running back Larry Johnson bottled up, the Ravens took aim at tight end Tony Gonzalez.

Gonzalez, who had 105 yards and two touchdowns on nine receptions against the Cleveland Browns last week, was limited to three catches for 31 yards.

In fact, Gonzalez didn't make his first reception until the 8:39 mark of the third quarter.

"We knew they wanted to go to 8-8 a lot," linebacker Adalius Thomas said. "That was my responsibility this week, Gonzalez. ... We knew he didn't want to be physical off the line, and after the first two or three plays, when he went complaining to the refs about being too physical, that's when we knew he didn't like it rough."

Martin moves on

Playing in his second straight game after being deactivated for eight of the first 11 games, rookie cornerback Derrick Martin committed two penalties on special teams.

With 49 seconds left before halftime, Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt managed just a 33-yard punt to Kansas City's 41. But Martin was flagged for roughing the kicker when he ran into Colquitt in an attempt to block the punt.

Although Martin said he tipped the punt, the Chiefs were able to maintain possession, but could not score before the half ended.

After the Ravens were forced to punt on their opening possession of the second half, Martin was cited for interfering with return specialist Dante Hall's ability to field the punt at the Ravens' 16. Despite a 15-yard penalty, Kansas City ended the series with a punt.

"I registered it in, but as soon as the ball was snapped on the next play, I let it go," Martin said.

Pendulum swing

Kansas City's inability to score points on a promising opening drive put the momentum on the Ravens' side.

After the Chiefs had marched 37 yards on nine plays to the Ravens' 14, kicker Lawrence Tynes lined up for what appeared to be a simple 32-yard field-goal attempt just 4:06 into the first quarter.

But Tynes, who has converted slightly more than 88 percent of his attempts between 30 and 39 yards in three seasons in Kansas City, hooked the kick wide left.

"Huge," Ravens free safety Ed Reed called the missed field goal. "It was just like last week for us when we played against Cincinnati, and we missed a field goal going into halftime. That's huge as far as momentum goes."

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