It was last year in just Week 1 of the season, the Baltimore Ravens lost starting outside linebacker Terrell Suggs to a season ending Achilles injury. It was his second torn Achilles of his career and one that many felt could mean the end of Suggs's status as an impact player. Maybe even the end of his career. Not only was Suggs battling his second Achilles injury, he was also battling his age. Suggs is 33 and turns 34 on October 11th.
Suggs was put on the physically-unable to perform list heading into training camp last offseason. He was able to return to practice and make his preseason debut against the Detroit Lions, along with quarterback Joe Flacco.
Three weeks of the 2016 season have flown by, and slowly but surely, Suggs has been returning to form and getting into game shape. It hasn't been easy since he is not only coming back from injury, but his pass rushing comrade Elvis Dumervil has been absent with a foot injury. Suggs has had to lineup opposite second-year player Za'Darius Smith and rookie Matt Judon.
In Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills, Suggs recorded two tackles and one sack, but he was slow getting off the ball. That is to be expected from someone who hasn't played in a year. The next week, against the Cleveland Browns he notched 3 tackles.
This past Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars Terrell Suggs showed signs of his old form. Especially in the wild fourth quarter, when he notched two huge sacks. The first came in the beginning of the 4th quarter with the Ravens up 16-14 and the Jaguars driving to take the lead, Suggs came up with a big sack on Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles at the Jacksonville 31-yard line. That sack was followed by defensive end Timmy Jernigan recording a sack on the very next play, ending the momentum of the Jaguars drive. The next sack was unquestionably the biggest. The Jaguars got the ball back down by two with 1:02 to go in the game. Now, I could've sworn I've seen almost this exact same situation before between these two teams just a year ago. Well, Terrell Suggs and the defense would not let history repeat itself.
On 2nd and 4 at the Jaguars 31 yard line, Bortles was able to escape a sack from Za'Darius Smith and rolled to his left outside the pocket looking for a man down the field. We've seen this script before and it usually ends with the quarterback making a big completion which catapults the team to a win. Thankfully, the Dean of Ball So Hard University would not let it happen. Suggs chased down Bortles and recorded his second sack of the game, and it proved to be a huge difference maker as the Jaguars were forced to take a timeout. Two plays later linebacker Zachary Orr would pick off Bortles to end the game for good.
Suggs and the defense contributed big time to the Ravens second consecutive road win, especially in the fourth quarter. Suggs may not fully be 100% back from his second Achilles injury, but he is taking it game by game and is still making an impact. His presence on the defense alone is huge because he demands so much attention. As Suggs continues to heal, he will soon get reinforcements with the return of Dumervil. With the possible return of Dumervil this weekend, to go along with Smith, Judon and Kamalei Correa, who finally saw some snaps last Sunday, the pass rush on the outside is getting better every week. That will make Darth Sizzle a happy man, and that is dangerous for opposing quarterbacks.