Elvis Dumervil, Terrell Suggs Lead NFL's Sack Duos

Elvis Dumervil had just sacked Saints quarterback Drew Brees on Monday Night Football, triggering a reported $1 million incentive clause in his contract.

What did he talk about on the sideline? 

He sat down next to fellow outside linebacker Terrell Suggs and did some calculations on where it put them in the race to be the NFL's top sack duo. The two were fully aware of not only how many sacks they had, but their top competition out in Denver, too.

No, they weren't leading at the time, but they are now.

Dumervil (16) and Suggs (8.5) have combined for 24.5 sacks this season. They already have topped the Ravens' previous franchise duo sack record set by Trevor Pryce and Adalius Thomas (24 sacks) in 2006. Now they want to finish as the league leaders.

Denver's Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware are on their heels with a combined 23 sacks. Buffalo's Mario Wiliams and Marcell Dareus aren't too far behind either with 22.

"I'm going to downplay it as much as I can. We want to get after the passer every week, but we also want to be up there in numbers as a duo," Suggs said with a grin.

"I think we got a tremendous amount of disrespect during the offseason that we weren't even considered amongst the top duo. But I think that'll probably change come this next offseason."

Being recognized as part of the league's top duo is nothing new for Dumervil. He and Miller led the NFL with 29.5 sacks in 2012. In 2009, when Dumervil had a career-high 17 sacks, he and Vonnie Holliday were also in the running.

"I've been there before twice, so I definitely want to do that with Terrell," Dumervil said. "He's been disruptive on his side. It allows me to have one-on-ones, and vice versa. So, we both can take advantage of one-on-ones. It definitely helps our defense."

The Ravens pass rush is largely helping keep the defense afloat considering all the injuries in the secondary. If Baltimore can force opponents into passing situations, either by stuffing the run on early downs or by getting a lead, Dumervil and Suggs can feast.

It's what Baltimore envisioned when it brought in Dumervil last offseason. Now it's coming to fruition.

Suggs and Dumervil had explosive first halves to the season last year. Dumervil had 8.5 sacks in the first nine games and Suggs had nine in his first eight.

But they trailed off in the second half. Dumervil had just one sack in his final seven games, in part due to a high-ankle sprain that forced him out of one game entirely. Suggs notched one sack in his final eight contests.

This year, Dumervil and Suggs are both healthy and mindful to stay that way down the stretch.

"It's just being pros, taking care of your body," Dumervil said. "Terrell is the ultimate pro with that – cold tub, working out, eating healthy. Those things go a long way and it shows at the end of the year. It's not about who works the hardest. It's who works the smartest."

Last week, Dumervil became the Ravens' franchise single-season sack leader last week with 3.5 takedowns in Miami, breaking a 13-year old record previously held by Peter Boulware.

He doesn't expect it to last forever, saying "records are meant to be broken." Dumervil previously set the Broncos' all-time single-season sack record with 17 in 2009. Miller topped him three years later with 18.5.

But for now, being atop the Ravens' franchise list means something special to Dumervil.

"When I decided to come to Baltimore, it was one of the reasons I wanted to come here because of the proud defensive [tradition] that has been here – Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Peter Boulware, those guys," he said. "So, to be a part of something like that, it's humbling."

Now he has one more individual goal on the horizon.

Dumervil has a piece of paper simply with "23" written on it taped to the inside of his locker. That's how* *many sacks it would take to break New York Giants Hall of Famer Michael Strahan's all-time NFL single-season sack record, set in 2001.

"Twenty-three. It seems like it's so far away, right?" Dumervil said.

Maybe not. This week's prey, the Jacksonville Jaguars, have allowed the most sacks in the league by far with 54. The next closest team, the Washington Redskins, have allowed 46. By comparison, the Ravens have surrendered 16.

The Ravens' pass-rushing duo has terrorized opposing quarterbacks all season. Take a look.

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