BALTIMORE — Terrell Suggs has almost as much hate as he does respect for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
So the veteran rush linebacker was all smiles following the Ravens crushing 35-7 victory Sunday afternoon.
A big reason for the Baltimore dominance was the play of Suggs, who sacked Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger three times and caused two of the four Pittsburgh fumbles.
The three sacks gave Suggs 71.5 in his career and allowed him to move by Peter Boulware (70 sacks) and become the Ravens career sacks leader.
“It wasn’t a goal of mine,” Suggs said of his mindset coming into the game. “But when they told me I’m only 11/2 away, I’m like: ‘I’m close. I might as well get it. I might as well do it in this game against my rival.’
“I had all my family in the stands and it was opening day against the Pittsburgh Steelers. So it was almost fate.”
Suggs is a playmaker of reknown and it was somehow fitting that he caused the first of seven Baltimore turnovers (a club record) with his sack of Roethlisberger in the first quarter and then ended his afternoon by sacking Big Ben on the final play of the game.
“I didn’t want them to score, to give up one at the end of the game,” he said of his third sack. “Thirty five to seven is a lot better than 35-14. These defences are the two best defences in the NFL and we had to get the edge on them in Game 1.”
As much as he came into the game prepared to beat Pittsburgh, in no way did he envision that they’d force seven turnovers (four fumbles and three interceptions).
“Naw, I ain’t seen anything like that before,” Suggs said. “It was amazing. We had guys where they were supposed to be. We’ve been building during the off-season, all the acquisitions that we got have been built for Pittsburgh.
“We got the first one (victory) and we’re going to play them two more times (one regular season and one looking ahead to the playoffs), you can guarantee it. All that’s decided is where we play them at.”
He said that it’s important that the Ravens don’t get too caught up in the win, that they build on it when they travel next week to Tennessee.
“It was satisfying but we’ve got to get over it real quick,” he said of the victory. “We’ve got another monster next week. So we handled out business in week one. We defended our home turf. We’re going to enjoy tonight, go over the film in the morning and get ready for week two.”
Polamalu gone missing
There was nobody on the Pittsburgh Steelers defence that turned in a decent game, one that it could be proud of.
But the biggest no-show on a day when the Ravens blew the socks off the Steelers was last year’s defensive player of the season — safety Troy Polamalu.
On the day Polamalu made one solo tackle, assisted on two others, had no sacks, no picks and was beaten for a touchdown.
Like so many of the other Pittsburgh defenders, he looked to be out of position and a step too slow on too many plays.
About the only time he was visible came in the final minute of the third quarter when he engaged in some aggressive pushing and shoving following a play. His actions almost resulted in a full scale punchup by both teams.
It was unusual to see Polamalu engage in a cheap shot but he said it was his frustrations just boiling over.
“We got beat up all over the field today, most of the game against our rival,” he said. “I may have lost it a little bit, which is not a good example, especially to my family and to the fans and children.
“You now what, that’s also part of the game. The truth of it is we got our butts kicked today.”