Suggs stirs Ravens into throwback performance

The Sports Xchange

September 12, 2014 at 11:59 am.

Sep 11, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs (55) gets introduced prior to the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium. Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

BALTIMORE — Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs came out of the tunnel in pre-game introductions Thursday wearing a gladiator mask to get his team and the crowd fired up.

The strategy worked. The defense put two huge hits on Pittsburgh — one on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger — in the opening drive and kept the mean streak coming, holding the Steelers out of the end zone for the entire game.

“I thought we just needed a boost,” Suggs said. “I couldn’t afford to start slow. I just wanted to get the crowd and my team in there early.” Suggs is the de facto leader of the defense and he has embraced the role this season. He finished with three tackles and created havoc for the Steelers’ offensive line. “For this team and for this city, it is good to get one against your rival,” he said.

Suggs had plenty of help in leading Baltimore to a dominant effort.

Rookie first-round pick C.J. Mosley continued to impress coaches with his ability to come up with the big play. The inside linebacker had nine tackles and one pass deflection against the Steelers. He stripped Pittsburgh tight end Heath Miller in the third quarter and that led to a 22-yard field goal by Justin Tucker.

Mosley is emerging as one of the early favorites for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.

“I had a solid game, but I know there is a lot more I can work on, especially in the passing game,” said the first -round draft pick out of Alabama. “I missed a couple of tackles and got out of position a few plays. I need to get better, watch some film and make sure I get better at my game.”

Cornerback Asa Jackson got his first start of the season when the team ruled that Lardarius Webb would miss his second consecutive game with a lower back injury. However, Jackson’s contributions were short-lived after he was knocked out of the game in the second quarter with a concussion.

That brought a shot at redemption for Chykie Brown, who was beaten for the winning touchdown last week against the Bengals.

Jackson was solid and could get more chances moving forward. But with nine days before traveling to Cleveland, Webb should be ready to make his first appearance of the season. However, the same cannot be said for Jackson.

“Asa had a concussion, and I don’t think it’s too major,” coach John Harbaugh said. “But again, you never know about these things.”