Terrell Suggs has history of success vs. Steelers

January 14, 2011|By Jamison Hensley, The Baltimore Sun

Back in 2004, Terrell Suggs boasted that the Ravens were "the Steelers' kryptonite" because they were the only team to beat Pittsburgh in the regular season.

These days, it's been Suggs who has played the role of Superman whenever the Pro Bowl linebacker sees his AFC North rival.

He has come up big on goal-line stands. He has hurt the Steelers even when he's playing with a sprained shoulder. He has sacked Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger more than any other player in the NFL (9 ½ times).

When the Ravens face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Saturday's divisional playoff game, Suggs is as much of a focus — and concern — for the Steelers as James Harrison is for the Ravens.

It was six weeks ago when Suggs delivered one of the best performances of his eight-year career and almost single-handedly beat Pittsburgh. In a 13-10 loss, Suggs recorded one sack, three tackles for losses and five quarterback hits in his domination of left tackle Jonathan Scott.

In a fourth-quarter goal-line stand, he made consecutive tackles behind the line of scrimmage and forced the Steelers to kick a field goal. Later that quarter, two plays before Pittsburgh scored the game-winning touchdown, Suggs nearly stripped the ball from Roethlisberger, who somehow escaped and heaved the ball out of bounds.

Why does it always seem like Suggs saves his best for the Steelers? Suggs, the resident locker-room movie buff, thrives on drama. And Suggs makes sure there is always a storyline when it comes to playing the Steelers, like wearing a t-shirt that read "Hey Pittsburgh" and showed a purple raven giving the one-finger salute.

His treatment of the Steelers has been just as hardcore. In 17 career games against Pittsburgh (including playoffs), he has 78 tackles, 12 ½ sacks, five passes defensed and one forced fumble. He's been even more disruptive recently with 10 sacks in the past 10 meetings.

The only time Suggs has collided with the Steelers in the postseason proved his toughness and his desire to play Pittsburgh. Leading up to the 2008 AFC championship game, he didn't practice all week because of a shoulder injury and wore a sling. Then, playing with one arm, he sacked Roethlisberger twice.

On Saturday, Suggs gets another shot at the Steelers and Roethlisberger. Based on his success against Pittsburgh, it's not a matter of if Suggs will make a game-changing play. It's a matter of when.

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

twitter.com/jamisonhensley

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