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Terrell Suggs Surprisingly Impactful In Return

Posted Oct 21, 2012

Terrell Suggs notched a sack on just his third drive and was strong against the run.

There was little that went right in the Ravens’ 43-13 loss to the Houston Texans Sunday.

But the return – and play – of outside linebacker Terrell Suggs was the surprising silver lining.

“I didn’t think there was any way it was actually going to happen," quarterback Joe Flacco said of Suggs’ early return.

There were questions about how much of an impact Suggs could make in his first game back less than six months after having Achilles surgery.

The answer was immediate. Suggs finished with four tackles, one sack, a deflected pass and two quarterback hits.

It wasn’t the start Suggs personally wanted, he said. He wanted a win.

But in terms of Suggs’ individual performance, it was about as good as can be asked for.

“Well it looked to me like he played really well,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “It’s going to be a plus for us and he’s only going to get better.”

Suggs started and played the entire game. He wasn’t in on every snap like he usually would be, as he took some series off. But he still saw the majority of the snaps at his old position – a positive sign that even after so much time off, he is in good football shape and will have the stamina to last 60 minutes.

The Ravens didn’t have a snap count limit on Suggs. They went play-by-play and series-by-series, Harbaugh said. And Suggs held up without any issues.

Suggs said he felt good after the game, and is in the process of “knocking off the rust.”

“He was probably in surprisingly good football shape for as little football as he played,” said Harbaugh, who admitted he was also taken aback with how many snaps Suggs took.

“I didn’t think he’d play a full game.”

Suggs said General Manager Ozzie Newsome threw out a number of snaps for Suggs, seemingly in jest as Suggs laughed about the exchange.

“Yeah, I expected to play a lot,” Suggs said. “I just felt good throughout the week. I just felt good when I first threw the pads on.”

While Suggs said there was rust, he appeared to be in a very good starting position. He did a good job setting the edge with his usual physical play. Suggs also showed explosion as a pass rusher.

He exploded off the edge to sack quarterback Matt Schaub on the Texans’ third series of the game. After six months off, he was already terrorizing quarterbacks.

“I’m just trying to get back to the punching and get off,” Suggs said. “I’m just trying to get it all back.”

Suggs’ return defied all the predictions when he first suffered the injury. Even Suggs himself seemed to paint an early-November return as the rosiest picture.

When Suggs started practicing Wednesday, he still had a 21-day window to get up to speed.

He could have taken Sunday’s game off and continued to get in shape over the Ravens’ Week 8 bye. That would have made him available to face Cleveland afterwards on Nov. 4 or versus Oakland on Nov. 11 at the latest.

But Suggs didn’t want to wait, and after no setbacks the Ravens knew he had a good chance to play by Friday. Suggs refuted the notion that he rushed back.

“This was the game I really wanted to come back for,” Suggs said.

“I had to come back this game against a good team because we all know how important those November and December games are and I didn’t want to be still knocking the rust off when it comes down the stretch to those big games. So I had to go against a team that was going to challenge me the most and that was Houston.”

The Ravens still have four AFC North games remaining, including two against the rival Steelers in Weeks 11 and 13.

Suggs said he didn’t want any excuses when he took the field for the first time. He said he was ready, and he and the team still got their butt kicked.

“Down the stretch, there are no excuses,” Suggs said. “‘Oh he started the season hurt and he came back.’ I don’t want to hear that come November or December. Those are the big games down the stretch and I wanted to be Terrell Suggs then.”

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