Saturday, November 2, 2013
Ravens' impressive sack streak
By Jamison Hensley
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The last time the Baltimore Ravens didn't sack the quarterback twice in a game was the team's last trip to Cleveland.
Since that Nov. 4 win against the Browns, the Ravens have produced multiple sacks in 15 straight games. That's the current longest streak in the NFL and the longest by a team since the New York Giants had two-plus sacks in 16 straight games from 2010 to 2011.
During the Ravens' 15-game streak, their defense has totaled 49 sacks, which is tied for fourth-most in that span. The challenge for offenses is to figure out where to focus the pass protection's attention. The Ravens have had 18 players record at least a half of a sack in this streak, which includes 10 linebackers, five defensive linemen and three safeties.
The most pressure has come from off the edges. Terrell Suggs has had nine sacks over this span, and Elvis Dumervil and Paul Kruger have combined for 12. The Ravens, though, have collapsed the middle, too. In this streak, interior linemen Art Jones (7.5 sacks) and Haloti Ngata (3.5) have totaled 11 sacks.
"The key is trying to get the best matchups you can and put the offense in the worst situation they can be," defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. "When you have a guy who is the weak link, then you try to get your best guy on that weak link. Just like offense tries to get a receiver on a linebacker. It's just the reverse."
In Week 2 of this season, the Ravens sacked Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden five times and hit him a dozen times. But the Browns held up better last Sunday, when they faced the NFL's best pass rush in the NFL. The Chiefs sacked quarterback Jason Campbell just once.
“They have not changed their schemes," coach John Harbaugh said about the Browns. "They’re probably blocking a little bit better. Jason [Campbell] did a nice job getting the ball out quickly.”
If Campbell holds onto the ball too long, the Ravens will likely extend their sack streak.