Jamison Hensley's Ravens beat: Is Terrell Suggs a marked man?

September 23, 2010|By Jamison Hensley, The Baltimore Sun

Terrell Suggs is either a marked man or a man with really bad timing.

In each of the past three seasons, the Ravens linebacker has been penalized for questionable roughing-the-passer penalties, all of which have led to losses.

The most debatable flag of the bunch occurred Sunday at Cincinnati, where Suggs appeared to sack quarterback Carson Palmer with a "form tackle" (the exact words that were used by former NFL head of officials Mike Pereira in describing the play). Referee Gene Steratore explained that Suggs slammed Palmer into the ground.

Suggs' 15-yard penalty was the biggest play in a drive that ended with the Bengals' eventual game-winning field goal with 4:34 left in the game.

In 2008, a roughing-the-passer penalty on Suggs contributed to the Tennessee Titans' game-winning touchdown drive in a 13-10 win over the Ravens.

On third-and-10 late in the fourth quarter, referee Bill Carollo flagged Suggs for what Carollo saw as a blow to Titans quarterback Kerry Collins' helmet, even though video replays appeared to show that Suggs was closer to Collins' shoulder than his head. Eight plays later, Tennessee concluded an 80-yard drive when Collins threw an 11-yard pass to tight end Alge Crumpler for the game-winner with 1:56 left.

Then, in 2009, a roughing-the-passer penalty on Suggs helped the New England Patriots defeat the Ravens, 27-21.

In the second quarter, referee Ron Winter flagged him when the right shoulder of a diving Suggs grazed the right leg of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, helping New England convert a second-and-11. That led to the Patriots scoring a touchdown, putting them ahead, 17-7.

Three questionable roughing-the-passer penalties called by three different officials.

So why would Suggs be a marked man? It could be traced back to the debacle in Detroit five years ago.

In the Ravens' 21-penalty game, Suggs had a face-to-face argument with referee Mike Carey after a roughing-the-passer penalty and was ejected when his facemask bumped Carey's cap. Carey said after the game that Suggs "bumped me with malice in his heart."

Asked on Thursday whether he feels like a marked man, Suggs said, "Maybe."

He added, "That's something you all have to do a survey on. I don't think so. Hey, he made the call. On to the next game."

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

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