Terrell Suggs surprised just about everyone when he returned to the field just five and half months after having surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon.
Not only did Suggs suit up, but he played more than half of the Ravens' defensive snaps. Suggs was on the field for 44 of the 80 defensive snaps, and he graded out as one of the Ravens' top defenders.
According to the statistical analysis website Pro Football Focus, Suggs was the second rated Ravens defender, trailing only linebacker Dannell Ellerbe.
"To come back from an Achilles tear at that stage of the offseason and to come back this quickly, and then to play the way he played, it's probably unprecedented," Head Coach John Harbaugh said Monday. "The credit goes to him and it goes to our training staff for what they accomplished – pretty remarkable."
Suggs received a negative grade on just one play, which came when he jumped offsides in the third quarter. Other than that miscue, Suggs graded out positive or even on every other play. (The grading system at Pro Football Focus works by looking at every single play and assigning a positive, negative or even value between 2.0 and -2.0).
Suggs was on the field for 18 running plays and 26 pass plays. He rushed the quarterback on 20 of those passes and was in coverage six times, according to Pro Football Focus.
On those 20 times rushing the passer, Suggs finished with one sack, one quarterback hit, one quarterback hurry and one batted pass. He also broke up a pass on one of his plays in coverage.
On a day where little went right for the defense, Suggs was the bright spot. He and Ellerbe were the only two defenders with a grade better than 1.0 overall. As a whole, the defense graded out -10.4.
The reigning Defensive Player of the Year showed no signs of a layoff, displaying a good burst and he still had the power to push through the line to get to the quarterback. On his sack, Suggs blew by right tackle Derek Newton and took the inside route to bring down quarterback Matt Schaub as defensive tackle Haloti Ngata took up two interior blockers.
His performance was the kind of showing that Harbaugh hoped he would see from Suggs when he returned to the field.
"I just felt like Terrell Suggs was going to be Terrell Suggs whenever he came back," Harbaugh said.
Coming into the game, the Ravens planned to tread lightly with Suggs. The plan was to monitor how his surgically-repaired Achilles tendon adjusted to game action, taking it one series at a time to see how much he could take.
Butt Suggs showed he could handle the workload, and surpassed just about everyone's expectations by playing more than half the game at a high level.
"I didn't know that he'd be able to play that many snaps, in all honestly," Harbaugh said. "For him to be able to play 44 snaps is really something. I don't know if that has ever been accomplished to come back from an Achilles tear at that stage of the offseason and to come back this quickly."