Terrell Suggs looked like he stepped into a time machine in the fourth quarter of Sunday's win over the Oakland Raiders.
The 36-year-old defender showed that he hasn't lost his speed when he scooped up a loose football and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown. The former high school running back shrugged off a tackler and outran everybody to the end zone to seal the 34-17 victory for the Ravens.
"It seemed like it took me forever to get there," Suggs joked. "In high school, I could do it over and over. After that one, I was kind of gassed."
Suggs picked up the fumble after outside linebacker Matthew Judon notched the strip-sack on Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. It was the first time since 2008 that Suggs has found the end zone, and the third score of his career.
"I was in disbelief," Suggs said. "I was like, 'This is for sure going to get called back.' Once the defense was celebrating with me, I was like, 'Oh this counts! OK, cool!'"
Suggs looked natural running with the football, but his teammates and Head Coach John Harbaugh gave him a hard time for his ball security. He carried the football with one hand away from his body, and Harbaugh admitted that he was yelling from the sidelines for Suggs to protect the ball.
Judon joked that "we're going to have to work on that in practice."
The truth is that Suggs wanted to pitch the football. He first looked to cornerback Jimmy Smith, who yelled to Suggs for him to throw the ball back to him, but he opted to keep it himself for the score.
"They said it looked like Ed Reed. No ball security whatsoever," Suggs said. "I was like, 'Absolutely.' I was actually looking to pitch it, but I'll take the touchdown."
The play reminded veteran guard Marshal Yanda of playing with Reed, when the dynamic safety always seemed like he had the pitch on his mind after a takeaway.
"It was funny. I remember the old days. He was looking to pitch that to Ed Reed or Ray Lewis, and obviously those guys are gone now, so he just had to run that sucker in there," Yanda joked. "I was fired up for him. Obviously, the old man is out there still getting it done, just like me. Us old guys got to stick together."
The fumble recovery was the defense's first takeaway since Week 7 against the New Orleans Saints. Baltimore's defense came into the weekend ranked first in the NFL in yards and points allowed, but turnovers have been lacking. The Ravens have just seven turnovers on the year, which is tied for the third lowest in the NFL, and they hope Suggs' big play starts a new trend.
"I'd like to think that was the beginning of our turnover train," Harbaugh said. "That's what we're going to hope for right there."