Vet­eran pass rush­ers fire up de­fense

Dumervil makes key plays in re­turn; Suggs ‘out­stand­ing again’

Baltimore Sun - - RAVENS INSIDER - By Ed­ward Lee ed­ward.lee@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/Ed­wardLeeSun

Ter­rell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil had been on the same field in two games ear­lier this sea­son. But in Sun­day’s19-14 win against the Cincin­nati Bengals at M&T Bank Sta­dium, the Ravens got a glimpse of the out­side lineback­ers’ abil­i­ties when healthy.

Suggs reg­is­tered two sacks, an­other tackle, two forced fum­bles and one bat­ted pass de­spite be­ing just five games re­moved from tear­ing his left bi­ceps. Dumervil, in his first game since Oct. 9 be­cause of a foot in­jury, re­cov­ered a fum­ble in the sec­ond quar­ter and strip- sacked Cincin­nati quar­ter­back Andy Dal­ton with 1:05 left in the fourth quar­ter to help ce­ment the vic­tory.

Their play en­er­gized their team­mates, es­pe­cially on de­fense.

“They did a great job set­ting the edge,” in­side line­backer C.J. Mosley said. “Two sacks, two fum­bles, mak­ing plays all over the field [for Suggs]. Dumervil made that last big play. That forced fum­ble was huge. It was great to have him back on the edge.”

Suggs con­tin­ues to spark the de­fense’s pass rush, in­creas­ing his team lead in sacks to eight and mov­ing into the top 10 in the NFL in that de­part­ment. Suggs did not talk much about his per­for­mance, but oth­ers, such as strong safety Eric Wed­dle, did.

“Sizz played out­stand­ing again, not only get­ting af­ter the quar­ter­back but in the run game, his lead­er­ship,” Wed­dle said, re­fer­ring to Suggs’ “Siz­zle” nick­name. “It’s def­i­nitely nice to rely on some­body like that and to look at him and be like, ‘Yo, we need a play.’ It’s great to have a guy like that.”

Much of the talk af­ter the game cen­tered on Dumervil, who had sat out eight of 10 games this sea­son, in­clud­ing the past five be­cause of an in­jury re­lated to foot surgery he un­der­went in the off­sea­son. He prac­ticed fully three days last week, but had been listed as “ques­tion­able.”

His first sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion oc­curred in the sec­ond quar­ter, when he pounced on a botched shot­gun snap be­tween Bengals cen­ter Rus­sell Bo­dine and Dal­ton on third-and-7 from the Ravens 16-yard line.

Then, on his strip-sack on third-and-10 at the Ravens 16, Dumervil sprinted past right tackle Eric Win­ston and stuck out his right arm to rake the ball from Dal­ton’s grasp. The ball bounced to de­fen­sive end Lawrence Guy, and the Ravens could breathe again.

“It was a great start,” said Dumervil, who Ravens out­side line­backer Elvis Dumervil re­cov­ers a fum­ble by Bengals quar­ter­back Andy Dal­ton (14) in the sec­ond quar­ter. Dumervil strip-sacked Dal­ton with 1:05 left in the fourth quar­ter to help seal the vic­tory. posted his first sack since Nov. 30 at the Cleve­land Browns. “We still have five games left in the reg­u­lar sea­son. It’s go­ing to come down to the last game of the sea­son, I’m sure. We’ve just got to make sure that we keep get­ting bet­ter. Me per­son­ally, there’s a lot I can get bet­ter at. I’m still rusty a bit, but I’m fine-tun­ing things, and hope­fully I can be peak­ing at the right time.”

Dumervil said his foot has got­ten stronger since his first at­tempt at re­turn­ing, when he played against the Oak­land Raiders and Wash­ing­ton Red­skins on Oct. 2 and Oct. 9, re­spec­tively.

Coach John Har­baugh said it was enor­mously grat­i­fy­ing to see Dumervil over­come the foot ail­ment.

“For him to come out and fight through this thing — which was such a dis­ap­point­ment that he wasn’t out there ear­lier in the year — some­times you have set­backs and things like that with your re­hab,” Har­baugh said. “[He] kept work­ing. [He] reded­i­cated him­self. We put a new pro­gram in about six weeks ago, and he went to work on it and got back. For him to play so well is sat­is­fy­ing for him, I’m sure, but it’s re­ally sat­is­fy­ing for me and ev­ery­one else, too. We’re happy to have him back.”

With cor­ner­back Jimmy Smith on the mend af­ter miss­ing the past two games be­cause of a back in­jury, a steady pass rush could make life eas­ier for the sec­ondary. Dumervil is hope­ful that he and Suggs can help pro­vide a lift in that area.

“It has been a while since we both have been re­ally healthy,” Dumervil said. “Our cov­er­age was good to­day. Hope­fully, when we get Jimmy Smith back, it will be awe­some.”

“It was a great start. We still have five games left. ... I’m still rusty a bit, but I’m fine-tun­ing things, and hope­fully I can be peak­ing at the right time.” Ravens out­side line­backer Elvis Dumervil

KARL MER­TON FERRON/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

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