In case you were wondering, Terrell Suggs still arrives to practice at the Under Armour Performance Center by driving team owner Steve Bisciotti’s customized purple and black, Ravens logo-embossed golf cart from the locker room area onto the facility’s crisp green turf.
Getting caught red-handed by the owner during training camp in July—the first time that happened in 16 seasons—hasn’t stopped the face-of-the-franchise linebacker from continuing the mischievous tradition he started years ago with former teammate Haloti Ngata.
Suggs’ new passenger is 335-pound defensive lineman Brandon Williams, who looks a lot like Ngata in size. The daily scene includes Suggs in the driver’s seat, playfully weaving the steering wheel back and forth to pilot the covered two-seater across the grass like a slalom skier—until he intentionally crashes it into a set of gray rubber garbage cans near the far sideline of the facility’s northern field.
So long as the Ravens defense keeps playing the way it is—looking like the best in the NFL with many statistical arguments to support the claim—we don’t imagine Bisciotti minds.
Suggs was one of eight different Ravens credited with a franchise-record 11 sacks last Sunday in a 21-0 win on the road against the Tennessee Titans. The milestone was the symbolic highlight of a complete shutout performance that turned the rest of the football-watching country onto what we already know as maybe the best Ravens defense since the year 2000. “That’s how we’re built on defense,” coach John Harbaugh said. “We bring a lot of pressure. We bring people from different places.”
It was so impressive to watch, let’s do it again.
Here’s all 11 of the sacks of poor Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, ranked in order of most fun, significant, or some other irreverent adjective, to least:
11. Suggs, 0:01 first quarter
Suggs chased Mariota out of bounds behind the line of scrimmage, which counts as a sack, but doesn’t look like one.
10. Kenny Young and Willie Henry, 13:38 fourth quarter
The rookie linebacker from UCLA and third-year lineman from Michigan pair combined to wrestle Mariota down. At this point, the Titans’ players looked like they wanted to go home.
9. Patrick Onwuasor, 5:29 fourth quarter
For the Ravens’ 10th sack, the third-year linebacker from Portland State pulled down Mariota after the QB pump-faked near his own goal line.
8. Za’Darius Smith, 11:19 first quarter
The fourth-year pro from Kentucky bull rushed up the middle and pounced on Mariota before he could escape the pocket. We didn’t know two more sacks from the relative unknown were still to come.
7. Chris Wormley, 11:54 first quarter
The first sack of the 11. Mariota slipped away from an unblocked Suggs’ initial rush, but wasn’t able to escape from Wormley, the second-year defensive end from Michigan (thanks to John Harbuagh’s brother, Jim, for the Wolverine recommendations).
6. Suggs, 4:51 second quarter
On the Titans’ fourth third-and-long of the game, Suggs brought down Mariota with a little bit of help from defensive tackle Willie Henry. Dancing ensued.
5. Young, 1:22 third quarter
In the worlds of CBS play-by-play announcer Kevin Harlan, Young “lassoed” Mariota near the line of scrimmage in front of the Ravens’ sideline. He was a designated spy of the QB on the play.
4. Onwuasor, 9:12 second quarter
Linebackers Onwuasor and Matthew Judon delayed rushed from their respective sides. Judon, who faked a rush at the snap, then reengaged after a few seconds, forced Mariota to step up and Onwuasor finished.
3. Smith, 7:46 second quarter
Looking almost like the former basketball player he was, Smith swatted the ball from the Titans quarterback’s right hand after splitting the offensive line up the middle. Did we mention the former basketball player only started playing football his senior year of high school before going to play at the University of Kentucky?
2. Tony Jefferson, 6:24 third quarter — The safety got the sack after the Ravens completely confused the Titans offensive line by dropping guys from the line of scrimmage on the snap. Jefferson delayed a blitz up the middle.
1. Smith, 4:04 fourth quarter
On a third-and-11 from inside the Titans’ own 10-yard line, Mariota dropped back, couldn’t find an open receiver, and stepped up in the pocket just as Smith wrapped his arms around Mariota’s torso to pull him down. “Oh my goodness,” CBS analyst Rich Gannon said. It was Smith’s third sack, which cemented the fourth-year outside linebacker’s AFC Defensive Player of the Week award, and it set the Ravens’ new franchise single-game sack record.
Next up? The 4-2 Ravens face quarterback Drew Brees and a better Saints team (4-1) at 4 p.m. Sunday. “We have to continue to do the same thing,” Smith said. “Get after the quarterback, make some plays, and have fun.”