Tough Choice With Suggs. Which Is Option Best?
The Ravens reportedly appear to be looking at two alternatives regarding outside linebacker Terrell Suggs' return from Achilles tendon surgery.
The reigning Defensive Player of the Year could return for the Oct. 21 game against the Houston Texans, which is Suggs' preference, reports Chris Mortensen.
But the ESPN NFL insider adds that Head Coach John Harbaugh would prefer to wait two more weeks, using the bye and then playing him on Nov. 4 against the Cleveland Browns. That way, Suggs can hit his form in January for the playoffs.
"Predictably, the player is pushing for the earlier return," wrote PFT.com's Mike Florio.
It seems like the smarter move is not to rush a return from a serious injury like this, but ESPN's Jamison Hensley says bringing Suggs back for the Houston matchup is tempting because the result could have a big impact on the postseason.
](http://www.dunkindonuts.com)"While you want to applaud Harbaugh for not rushing back Suggs, the Ravens' game against the Texans (4-0) could have tiebreaker implications down the road for the No. 1 seed or a first-round bye," Hensley wrote.
"Because of the big-picture ramifications, that game at Houston could be Baltimore's biggest non-division game left on the schedule. The Ravens obviously would have a better shot at beating Houston with Suggs running after quarterback Matt Schaub."
Suggs is currently finishing up his six-week stint on the physically unable to perform list and the earliest return date is that Texans game, but it may not be realistic.
"There is no way [Suggs comes back in October]. That's beyond aggressive," a source close to Suggs told CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora.
A source told The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson something similar:
"The source refuted reports that Suggs was aiming toward that [Texans] game, characterizing it as unrealistic he would be ready or that the Ravens would risk a setback by allowing him to play. ... The source said it's far more likely that Suggs would return sometime in November, perhaps later in that month."
What would you do Ravens fans?
'Sickening' That Chiefs Fans Cheered Cassel's Injury
Prior to the Ravens' win over the Kansas City Chiefs, a small plane flew over Arrowhead Stadium with a banner that read: "KC fans deserve better. Fire [General Manager Scott] Pioli and bench [Quarterback Matt] Cassel."
It's one thing for fans to voice their opinion on who gets the starting job. They can even boo their own team. Heck, the airplane banner was even legitimate.
But Chiefs fans crossed the line when they actually cheered as Cassel lay on the ground after suffering a crushing blow from 330-pound defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. The official word is that Cassel suffered a concussion and his return date is unknown.
Right tackle Eric Winston took notice of the fans applauding, and said it was "100 percent sickening." It's hard not to agree with his points:
"We are athletes," Winston said. "We are not gladiators. This isn't the Roman Coliseum. People pay their hard-earned money to come in here, and I believe they can boo. They can cheer. They can do whatever they want.
"But when you cheer somebody getting knocked out, I don't care who it is, and it just so happened to be Matt Cassel, it's sickening. It's 100 percent sickening, and I've been in some rough times on some rough teams, and I've never been more embarrassed in my life to play football than in that moment right there."
Ravens Extend AFC North Lead
After five weeks of play, the Browns (0-5) remain winless.
The Bengals (3-2) fell to the Dolphins (2-3), ending a three-game win streak and falling a game and a half behind the Ravens in the division.
The Steelers (2-2) avoided a 1-3 start with a "sloppy" win over the Eagles (3-2). Pittsburgh escaped with the victory as Ben Roethlisberger led the offense to a 14-play, 64-yard winning drive in the fourth quarter. But they lost key players in the process: safety Troy Polamalu re-injured his calf and outside linebacker LaMaar Woodley suffered a hamstring injury. Both defensive starters left the game, never to return.
J. Michael: Rice Bails Out Offense
To use Joe Flacco's own words, the fifth-year quarterback had a "crap day."
He only managed to churn out 187 yards in the air, throwing one interception and failing to notch a touchdown for the first time this season. It all added up to a passer rating of 55.6. Flacco was also sacked four times and his receivers had a hard time holding onto the ball.
With the passing game sputtering, and the Ravens needing to kill the clock, the team turned to running back Ray Rice. He ran the ball three times in a row with just under three minutes remaining, picking up a crucial first down to help wind down the clock.
"If there's a silver lining to the Ravens' 9-6 win vs. the Kansas City Chiefs it's that they have their first win on the road and that when all else failed with the no-huddle offense it was running back Ray Rice who bailed them out," wrote CSNBaltimore.com's J. Michael.
You do have to give credit to Flacco. Without his 16-yard scramble for a first down on a third-and-15, Rice wouldn't have even gotten the opportunity.
"It was good to see the offense turn to Ray Rice to ice the game, but the talented running back needs to get the ball more often," wrote The Sun's Ed Lee.
'Rough Day' For Oher, K.O
One could argue that Flacco held on to the ball too long on a few of the Chiefs' four sacks.
But Wilson also believes that offensive tackles Michael Oher and Kelechi Osemele had an "extremely rough day" trying to block Chiefs outside linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston, respectively. The tackles gave up two sacks each.
Rookie Osemele admitted he had his hands full.
"Houston was definitely the fastest guy I've had to block, I'll give it to him," he told Wilson. "I've just got to do a better job of finishing him when he goes low and rips. That guy was so freaking explosive. He would pop off the ground and keep rushing. I'm learning every game. I've been going against some really good defensive ends. It's only going to make me better in the future."
This wasn't Oher's first matchup against Hali, however. The outside linebacker had a shining performance against Oher in the AFC wild-card game two years ago, notching seven tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble.
"Hali's a great player, the guy gets after it," Oher said. "He's relentless. He does a great job of everything. I just got to go back and watch the film. I'm pretty sure I did a lot of good things and bad things."
Remember When Baltimore's Run D Was The Best?
You have to give credit to Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees and the defense for making adjustments at halftime to slow the Chiefs run game. After burning the Ravens for 179 yards on the ground in the first half, the defense only surrendered 35 more in the second.
But how much solace can you take from that second-half performance?
As BaltimoreRavens.com columnist John Eisenberg wrote, "let's face it, the Ravens haven't been this vulnerable against the run in a long time."
SI.com's Don Banks had similar sentiments, but puts part of the blame on linebacker Ray Lewis.
"Remember when Baltimore's defense was one of the best in the business when it came to stopping the run? Those days seem long gone. … Couldn't have anything to do with that new, lighter and faster Ray Lewis we've heard so much about this year, could it? It was feared that Baltimore's Hall of Fame-bound middle linebacker might suffer some on run defense this year in the attempt to get more athletic in pass coverage, and perhaps those concerns were accurate."
Penalties Go Ravens' Way, But Were They Right?
It comes as no surprise that the Ravens agreed with two officiating calls in the fourth quarter that went their way. And of course the Chiefs disagreed.
So what do outsiders think?
Hali's fumble recovery and subsequent touchdown was wiped off the board in the game's final minutes because the play was whistled dead with Flacco's forward progress already stopped.
But CBSSports.com's Clark Judge believes the refs blew the whistle too soon.
"[The officiating crew] blew the call on a Joe Flacco fumble that could've decided the game ... and won it for Kansas City ... when it whistled the play dead way too soon," he wrote. "Imagine if that happened with replacement refs. We would be demanding a Congressional inquiry."
That wasn't the first potential game-winning touchdown taken away from the Chiefs.
Dwayne Bowe caught a 15-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, but it was nullified because Chiefs receiver Dexter McCluster was called for offensive pass interference. The referees ruled that McCluster set an illegal pick on cornerback Jimmy Smith, which freed Bowe for the score.
Eisenberg believes the Chiefs have a right to be upset with the decisive flag.
"I understand their frustrations," the columnist wrote. "The rule is all about intent, i.e., a receiver can't intentionally impede a pass defender and keep him from covering his man. On that play, the Chiefs' Dexter McCluster was ruled to have intentionally impeded the Ravens' Jimmy Smith, allowing Dwayne Bowe to get open, catch a pass and score. But reviewing the play, it appeared Smith caused the contact as much as anything, running into McCluster without looking."
This One's for Chuck
Knowing how popular former Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano is to so many Baltimore fans, I thought you would really enjoy this video.
Pagano is currently enduring a four- to six-week stay in the hospital as he fights leukemia. His team pressed forward Sunday, staging an inspiring come-from-behind victory after being down 21-3 to the Green Bay Packers.
Check out the Colts' post-game locker room as interim coach Bruce Arians and Owner Jim Irsay addressed the team after the emotional 30-27 win in the first week of Pagano's absence.
Ed Reed looking snazzy in his game-day getup … @twentyer: Ok we taking off tweeters enjoy your evening folk. This my game day gear in KC. Board of health! [Twitter] * @jeffzrebiecsun: Ravens had no injuries in today's game. Couple of minor things. [Twitter] * @pmgleason [Ravens PR manager]: Last time #Ravens won a game without scoring a TD was 5 years ago to the day (10/7/07) at San Francisco, 9-7. * Ravens-Chiefs was only the third game in NFL history in which both teams had a 100-yard rusher but neither scored a touchdown [Elias Sports Bureau] * @ravens: Drew Brees just snapped Johnny Unitas' 52-year record of consecutive games with a passing TD. 48 straight games. Congrats @drewbrees [Twitter] * @torreysmithwr: Happy Birthday [Saturday] to my lil brother Tevin...We miss you and love you #RIPTevin #TEAMTEVIN [Twitter] * @ravensinsider [Wilson]: Bernard Pollard: 'There is such a thing as an ugly victory. You're not going to dominate all the time. It's going to be a dogfight.' [Twitter] * @ravensinsider: Vonta Leach: "We got to play better than that to beat our next opponent, which is the Cowboys." [Twitter]