With Suggs, what's the rush for Ravens?

With Suggs, what's the rush for Ravens?
November 27, 2012, 4:30 am
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In his five games back from a torn Achilles tendon, Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs has posted stats that have been modest by his standards. He has two sacks, one in his first game and another on Sunday, and no more than four tackles in any game.

But his presence has had an impact on the way the Ravens play defense.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, in the first six games of the season, before Suggs returned, the Ravens blitzed on about 40 percent of opposition pass plays. In Suggs’ five games, they have been blitzing 20 percent of the time.  And the difference has been evident in opponents’ average gain per pass attempt — 8.7 yards pre-Suggs, 6.0 with Suggs.

Less blitzing means more defensive backs and linebackers dropped into coverage, fewer receivers with one-on-one coverage, increased options in the secondary.

So it’s not all about a greater number of sacks — though the Ravens did total six on Sunday against the Chargers — but it’s about the defense’s comfort level for pressuring the quarterback without having to risk exposure in the secondary when a blitz doesn’t get to the passer.

Call it a Sizzle synergy or don’t call it anything but fortunate for the Ravens to have Suggs’ presence to help shore up what had suddenly become a concern. Though they have improved, the Ravens defense still ranks No. 24 in the NFL in yards per game at nearly 373, but they rank seventh in the league in points allowed per game,  19.9.