When the Ravens entered the fourth quarter of Sunday’s contest against the Miami Dolphins, outside linebacker
That’s when his position coach, Ted Monachino, issued a challenge.
“Ted Monachino said to me on the sideline, ‘No. 55 it’s time for you to make a play,’” Suggs said. “And I went out and did so.”
Suggs took the challenge from Monachino and responded with a stellar finish, registering three sacks in the final 15 minutes to help shut down the Dolphins offense and give the Ravens a 26-23 victory.
“Terrell Suggs was just off the scale,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said.
In addition to the challenge from Monachino, Suggs also had motivation from home to step up his play. Suggs told reporters that his wife, Candace, gave him a sacks benchmark.
“She told me to bring mama home three sacks, and it came down the stretch in the fourth quarter, and I was like, ‘Alright, mama said she wanted three sacks, so I gave her three,” Suggs said.
Suggs was simply too much for Dolphins offensive linemen to handle in the fourth quarter, as he beat them in a variety of ways to get to quarterback Ryan Tannehill in the backfield. His first two sacks came on a speed rushes against Dolphins left tackle Jonathan Martin, and then the third sack came when Suggs switched over to the opposite side and got pressure through the interior of Miami’s line.
A large part of his late-game success was Suggs’ commitment to conditioning, which showed in the fourth quarter of a 90-degree day in Miami.
“We do a lot of reps in practice, so you have to be in tremendous shape,” Suggs said. “It’s all part of playing Ravens football.”
Sunday’s performance continued Suggs’ standout start to the 2013 season. He now has seven sacks on the season, and has notched at least one sack in every game this year. The 11-year veteran tied a franchise record for the most consecutive games (five) with a sack, joining Paul Kruger (2012) and Adalius Thomas (2005 & 2006).
Harbaugh said leading up to the Miami game that Suggs was playing as well as he ever has in his 11-year career, including the 2011 season when he was the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Suggs is having the kind of season that again puts him into the conversation of the league’s best defensive player. He has been dominant all season, but even after Sunday’s win he wasn’t interested in talking much about his impressive individual start to the year.
“We’ve only had five games,” Suggs said. “It’s really how far our team goes. The better we do, the better I feel toward the end of the year. Right now we got bigger fish to fry.”