Baltimore Ravens OLB Terrell Suggshas been named the 2011 Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year.
This marks the fourth time in 12 seasons that a Raven has earned the prestigious honor: Suggs (2011), S Ed Reed (2004) and LB Ray Lewis (2003, 2000).
Finishing with a career-high and AFC-best 14 sacks on the year, Suggs also forced an NFL-high seven fumbles, setting a personal best and a franchise single-season record. He added 70 tackles (50 solo), two interceptions and six passes defensed for a Ravens team that made its fourth-straight playoff appearance (12-4 record) and advanced to the AFC Championship game.
"I want to thank the Ravens organization, my teammates, my position coach, Teddy M. [Ted Monachino], all of our defensive coaches, and most importantly, the City of Baltimore," Suggs stated. "Our fans are the NFL's best. I've always said that I play for our fans, and this honor is a tribute to them. I'm very appreciative of Ravens Nation and their love and support throughout the past nine years."
En route to his fifth-career Pro Bowl in 2011, Suggs was a key contributor to Baltimore's stingy defense, which ranked third in the NFL in fewest points permitted (16.6 ppg) for the fourth-straight year. With that mark, Baltimore tied an NFL record for consecutive seasons of being in the Top 3 for points allowed. Overall, the Ravens' unit ranked third in the league in both yards allowed (288.9 ypg) and sacks (48, tied with NYG).
The Ravens also finished No. 1 in red zone defense (38.1 TD%), opponent QB rating (68.8), fewest offensive touchdowns allowed (21) and fewest touchdown passes permitted (11). Baltimore was second in rush defense (92.6 ypg) and third-down defense (32.1%), with the Ravens also holding nine of their 16 regular season opponents to 17 or fewer points.
"Terrell Suggs had another outstanding year," Monachino, the Ravens' linebackers coach, stated. "He showed the rare ability that we all know he has. He was technical, physical, tough and explosive in nearly every phase of his game. People see the sack totals and know he is a special player, but it's all the other parts of the game that prove, week-in and week-out, what a valuable player he is for our defense and for our team.
"His professional approach, along with his undeniable talent, paid off not only for him personally, but for the Ravens and the City of Baltimore. Knowing the other finalists and how stiff the competition was makes this award a tremendous honor for him."
Suggs' 14 sacks in 2011 ranked third in Ravens history, with only DE Michael McCrary (14.5 in 1998) and OLB Peter Boulware (15 in 2001) producing more in a Ravens' season.
As the Ravens' all-time sacks king (82.5), Suggs' quarterback drops rank seventh among active players since he entered the NFL in 2003. During that span, his 610 yards lost from those sacks stand fourth. Including playoffs, Suggs has racked up 30 sacks over the past two seasons (36 total games), ranking fourth most in the NFL. In Baltimore's last 20 games (dating back to 2010 playoffs), he has tallied 19 sacks.
Terrell Suggs: 2011 Honors
- Defensive Player of the Year (Associated Press)
- Defensive Player of the Year (Pro Football Weekly)
- AFC Defensive Player of the Year (K.C. NFL 101)
- Pro Bowl (starter) – Fifth Invite
- NFL First-Team All-Pro (Associated Press)
- NFL First-Team All-Pro (Pro Football Weekly)
- Butkus Award (co-winner, DeMarcus Ware)
- AFC Defensive Player of the Month - December/January