Ravens Pass Rush Terrorizes Brandon Weeden


At one point near the end of the first half, so many Ravens sacked Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden that statisticians had a tough time sorting out to whom to give credit. It could have gone to a handful of Ravens.

That's the kind of day it was for Baltimore's pass rush, and perhaps a sign of things to come.

The Ravens had grand visions of what their pass rush could be when they signed Elvis Dumervil, Chris Canty and others this offseason. On Sunday, they got a glimpse of how explosive it can be.

Baltimore's defense sacked Weeden five times and hit him 12. It eventually knocked him out of the game in the fourth quarter with a thumb injury.

"We have a chance to be one of the best pass-rushing teams in the league," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "We have to make that happen."

The Ravens got three sacks in Week 1 against Peyton Manning and the Broncos as each member of the Terrell Suggs-Dumervil combo got a sack. They did it again against Cleveland, but had a lot more aid too.

Linebacker Daryl Smith led the group with 1.5 sacks, defensive tackle Art Jones had one in his first game of the season, rookie linebacker Arthur Brown got a half and Suggs and Dumervil each had one.

The Ravens' performance should be taken in context, as the Browns offensive line was suspect coming into the game. Cleveland was without starting guard Shawn Lauvao, and yielded six sacks and 16 quarterback hits the previous week to the Miami Dolphins.

Still, it's a good sign for Baltimore.

"It's really what we wanted to do and really what we focused on in the offseason – getting to the quarterback," Haloti Ngata said. "All of training camp we were able to do that."

The Ravens were making Weeden move for much of the first half, but had trouble bringing him down. Finally, they were able to take him to the turf for the first time about midway through the second quarter. Suggs dropped Weeden for a 2-yard loss. That was the beginning of the assault.

Dumervil got a sack on third-and-10 just two plays later. The Ravens ended Cleveland's next drive with a combo sack between Smith and Brown on third-and-4.

"I think that it's a rare combination of guys we've got doing it," Suggs said. "We've got a lot of guys that are getting after the quarterback and that's [good]. Even 'Buck' [Smith] decided to get in on it.

"That's the mentality that we said we were going to have. We're going to stop the run; we're going to get after them on the pass. We did that."

The Ravens were boosted by their ability to roll a number of different players into the game, something they couldn't do as much in Denver because of Manning's hurry-up offense. Baltimore was able to utilize its depth.

Jones played after missing the final preseason game and the season opener with a scare from an irregular heartbeat that he feared could end his career. He said his conditioning wasn't quite tip-top, but he was able to contribute and came up with a big sack immediately after a fourth-quarter fumble by Ray Rice on the Ravens' side of the field.

"The first of many this season," Jones said. "It was definitely special, especially for me after being out for two weeks."

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