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Pass Rush Overpowers Bucs, Leads Dominant Defense


The Ravens said all along that their pass rush was good.

They were getting pressure. The stats just hadn't come yet.

On Sunday, the stats came in a big way.

Baltimore had five sacks in its first five games this season. The Ravens matched that total Sunday in Tampa Bay, sacking quarterback Mike Glennon five times and hitting him a bruising 15 times.

"Last week we got a lot of hits, but not necessarily sacks," linebacker Daryl Smith said. "We talked about making them all sacks this week and we were able to do it."

Smith was one of five different Ravens defenders to get in on the sack party. He, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs and outside linebacker Pernell McPhee each had one. Outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil had 1.5 and nose tackle Brandon Williams had 0.5.

The Ravens were ranked as the NFL's best pass-rushing team by Pro Football Focus (PFF) heading into the game, but were tied for 26th in the league in sacks. They needed just a fraction of a second more, or to be just a hair faster, to get the sacks.

Smith said the difference this week was slightly improved coverage on the back end that allowed the pass rush just enough time to actually get to the quarterback. Second-year Bucs quarterback Mike Glennon held the ball much longer than the Colts' Andrew Luck a week prior, and he paid for it.

Suggs said the hot Florida weather, which was over 90 degrees at kickoff, and a good natural grass field, also helped Baltimore's pass rush.

"It's very rare that we get an opportunity like this," Suggs said. "Everybody thought it was going to be hot and hinder us, but it kind of got us going. If we could play in heat like that all the time we could probably have a pass rush like that all the time."

Suggs had just a half sack heading into the game. He had just 1.5 sacks over his previous 13 games, dating back to last season. While Suggs has been strong this season, and rated by PFF as one of the best at his position, the lack of stats was raising concerns.

After getting his half sack against Carolina in Week 3, Suggs said he felt like he hadn't quite broken out of his slump because he had to share it with Dumervil. After Sunday's game, he said he felt a little different. Suggs had a team-leading five quarterback hits.

"I feel like I should have had more," Suggs said. "Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good, and we'll just take it and start from there."

The Ravens particularly got a lot of pressure up the middle, including on delayed blitzes. Inside linebacker C.J. Mosley had three quarterback hits. They attacked Bucs center Evan Dietrich-Smith.

Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees also brought a lot of heat off the edges, blitzing cornerback Lardarius Webb and safeties. Terrence Brooks and Brynden Trawick each logged a hit.

"You know Suggs, man, going against the better tackle [Anthony Collins] helped me to go against the weaker guys. Give him his credit," Dumervil said with a laugh as Suggs stood nearby.

"We've got a bunch of good rushers, Haloti, Pernell inside, and obviously playing opposite Terrell, it gives you an opportunity."

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