It didn't take Dannell Ellerbe long to show he was back, and that he was going to make a difference.
On the third play from scrimmage, Ellerbe perfectly timed an inside blitz and pounced on quarterback Eli Manning for a sack and loss of nine yards.
The play was called back, however, because outside linebacker Terrell Suggs was offsides. That left Suggs, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, apologizing to Ellerbe.
"There was nothing I could say to him at that point. He already knew how I felt," Ellerbe said with a laugh. "He said something like, 'Sorry, man. My bad.' So, I said, 'It's alright.'"
The near sack was just a display of what Ellerbe's return brings to the Ravens' defensive table.
The linebacker missed three games. The Ravens lost all three.
The losing streak can't be attributed only to Ellerbe's absence, but having him on the sidelines left Baltimore short-handed at the position, lacking a dynamic blitzer and proven run stopper.
Defensive end Arthur Jones was asked how the Ravens were able to create so much pressure on Manning. They sacked him three times and knocked him down nine times.
"Getting Dannell Ellerbe back," Jones flatly replied. "The guy's a beast. I think he's the best blitzing linebacker in the NFL. He did his thing. It means a lot to have him back."
In his first game back, Ellerbe also finished atop the team with five tackles, tied with cornerback Cary Williams. Ellerbe now has 86 tackles and 4.5 sacks this season.
Even with starting running back Ahmad Bradshaw back from injury, the Giants netted just 67 yards of rushing.
"If they got their running game going, it would have opened up their passing game," Ellerbe said. "But* *when they couldn't run the ball like they wanted to, it made their passing game less effective. [We] have to give credit to our D-line. They played a great game."
Ellerbe said he still wasn't 100 percent. In addition to the ankle, he previously had worked through thumb, knee and toe injuries.
"I was good enough to go," Ellerbe said. "I didn't hurt the team, so I felt it was a good game for me."