|Terrell Suggs: ‘We definitely got to [Tom Brady] a little bit more than he would’ve liked’||01.10.15 at 9:35 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Although at times the Ravens made Patriots quarterback Tom Brady uncomfortable — especially in the first half, delivering some big shots — Brady and the Patriots ultimately got the last laugh, coming from 14-0 down to comeback and beat the Ravens 35-31, to now host the AFC championship game next Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
Terrell Suggs and Brady have had a history in the past, and although the Ravens’ linebacker still refuses to call Brady by his name, including after Saturday’s game, he did say he’s a “pretty good quarterback.”
“We definitely got to him a little bit more than he would’ve liked,” said Suggs. “He’s a pretty good quarterback. He stood in there and he made the plays he needed them to make. They won the game. You learn more in failing than you do in success, so right now we’re already processing how we can get better. I won’t feel like this next year.”
Baltimore sacked Brady twice, and hit him nine times in the game. Suggs finished with two tackles and half a sack.
With the Patriots trailing 31-28 in the fourth quarter, Brady orchestrated a 10-play, 74-yard drive, finishing with a Brandon LaFell 23-yard touchdown catch, which proved to be the game-winning touchdown. The game was also the biggest postseason comeback win in Patriots franchise history.
“They made one more play than us,” said Suggs. “You have to take your hat off to the New England Patriots. They won a tough game on their home field. We came up here to win the game, there was no hesitation on our part. We came up here to win the game.”
|Terrell Suggs on Tom Brady complimenting him: ‘Say what?’||01.06.15 at 9:11 pm ET|
During Suggs’ meeting with the media in Baltimore, the first question was if he would say the name of the Patriots’ quarterback — Suggs wouldn’t.
“He’s the quarterback for the New England Patriots,” Suggs said to reporters.
Brady had nothing but positive things to say about Suggs on Tuesday when he was asked about the 12-year veteran — even calling him a “phenomenal player.”
“Say what?,” Suggs said when being told of the comments. “Did they record him? Like, they had a camera? I would love to see his face. But whatever, it is what it is now.”
In five regular-season games against the Patriots, Suggs is 0-5, but has sacked Brady five times. In the playoffs, Suggs is 2-1 and has sacked Brady once. In the three playoff games, he’s recorded two tackles in every game.
“It’s the same that all defensive players have with quarterbacks,” Suggs said of his interaction with Brady. “He’s a quarterback, I’m a defender. He has a job to do, and so do I. Naturally, there are going to be some disagreements there.”
The Patriots and Ravens are no strangers to each other in the postseason, as they have met in four of the last six postseasons, with the Ravens winning two of the last three — with all three games being played at Gillette Stadium. Under Bill Belichick, the Patriots are 12-3 at home, but two of those three losses have come against the Ravens.
|Tom Brady has nothing but love for Terrell Suggs: ‘He’s phenomenal [and] always right’||at 8:51 pm ET|
At least, that’s what the Patriots quarterback would have you believe listening to him talk about the challenge of facing a defense that is hoping to pressure Brady off the spot Saturday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.
For the last four years, ever since voting for Ryan Fitzpatrick over Tom Brady (36 TDs, 4 INTs) for the Pro Bowl in 2010, Suggs has had a feud with Brady, mostly fueled by the Ravens linebacker. On Saturday night, after the Ravens beat the Steelers to set up another rematch with Brady, Suggs poured more gas on the fire.
“We all know the matchup the NFL wants to see. Something for the TV. Something for the sponsors,” Suggs told NFL.com, referencing of course a potential Brady-Peyton Manning AFC Championship game. “But we have faith in ourselves and Ravens Nation, and we’ll see if we can disrupt some people’s plans.”
Suggs famously said of his 2010 omission of Brady: “He [Brady] probably didn’t vote for me either.”
There was no joking, only vitriol, after the Ravens beat the Patriots in Jan. 2013 in the AFC Championship at Gillette Stadium.
“Those are the most arrogant p—ks in the world, starting with coach Belichick on down,” said Suggs. “That’s funny, ever since Spy Gate they haven’t been able to win.
Whether it’s Spy Gate or the “Tuck Rule,” Suggs has always called into question the legitimacy of Brady’s three Super Bowl rings, terming them “questionable.”
Two years ago, following the Ravens’ win over San Francisco in the Super Bowl, Suggs told ESPN that he didn’t think the Patriots “respected anybody,” adding, “the other 31 teams hate the New England Patriots.”
With all of that as a backdrop, Brady tried to kill the 32-year-old Ravens bodacious linebacker with kindness.
“He’s phenomenal,” Brady said. “He’s [in his] 12th year; it looks like it’s his third year out there. He’s the leader of that defense, he makes great plays. I think there’s the play that’s called, and then what he actually does. So even though he has a certain responsibility, if he sniffs it out he takes a shot and goes for it. He may have contain, but he may rip inside and try to make a play in the backfield. He’s just a smart player. We’ve played against him a bunch of times; he takes away a lot of stuff. I have a lot of respect for his ability to play the game at a high level; he’s phenomenal.”
|Tom Brady on D&C dismisses talk of past struggles vs. Ravens: ‘Everything’s different at this point’||01.05.15 at 7:54 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady checked in with Dennis & Callahan for his weekly Monday morning chat and talked about the team’s preparations for the upcoming playoff matchup with the Ravens. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The Patriots will meet a familiar foe after Baltimore went into Pittsburgh and knocked off the Steelers on Saturday. The Ravens beat the Patriots in the postseason two years ago en route to a Super Bowl title, and Baltimore also beat New England in Foxboro in the 2009 postseason. However, Brady dismisses talk about the Patriots’ recent playoff struggles against this franchise.
“Everything’s different at this point,” Brady said. “We can never change anything that’s happened in the past, nor can they. You can’t bring players out of retirement, they can’t either. It’s the guys we’ve got vs. the guys they’ve got, which that’s an entirely new team that we have and an entirely new team that they have. There’s some carryover, there’s some characteristics that are the same, but these teams have established their own identities. It’s going to be the Patriots’ 2014 version vs. the Ravens’ 2014 version and we go from there.
“We’ll be able to evaluate some stuff scheme-wise that they could possibly do vs. us, that’s always helpful. But it will be determined by what happens on the field Saturday night, not anything that’s happened in the past.”
The Ravens are led by a defensive front that is sure to present issues for a Patriots offensive line that has had some problems this season.
“They’ve got a good front,” Brady said. “We’ve faced quite a few teams that have good fronts this year. Obviously [Elvis] Dumervil‘s had a phenomenal year. He’s been a great player since he’s been in the league, that’s why Baltimore signed him [as a free agent before the 2013 season]. [Terrell] Suggs is as good as they get. [Haloti] Ngata’s as good as they get. [Pernell] McPhee’s had a good year. And then they rotate some other guys in there, Brandon Williams is a really good player. So they’ve got a good front.
“They’ve got good linebackers, probably one of the defensive rookies of the year at linebacker [C.J. Mosley]. And Lardarius Webb in the secondary. They’ve had a few injuries in the secondary but they’ve been pretty settled there for a while now. It’s a hard-hitting secondary, it’s a hard-hitting defense. Like I said, they don’t give you anything. We’ve got to go out and try to earn it.”
|5 things you have to know about Ravens||01.04.15 at 9:54 am ET|
Here are five things you have to know about the sixth-seeded Ravens, who will face the Patriots in the divisional playoffs next Saturday at Gillette Stadium.
They have struggled to stop the pass.
The Ravens do have a fearsome pass rush — Elvis Dumervil had 17 sacks this year, and Terrell Suggs had 12 — but many teams have been able to beat them because of their issues in the secondary. Over the course of the regular season, the Ravens were 23rd in the league with 249 passing yards per game allowed, 22nd in completion percentage allowed (64.2) and 19th in opposing passer rating (90.6). In all, the Ravens yielded 300 or more passing yards on five occasions. As we saw Saturday night, Baltimore does have the sort of pass rush that can make life difficult on an opposing quarterback (Ben Roethlisberger was sacked five times by the Ravens, including twice by Dumervil), but a secondary that’s struggled with health and other personnel losses could have some issues with New England’s passing attack. The Patriots will likely try and utilize several different options in hopes of slowing the Baltimore pass rush, including an extra offensive lineman (possibly Cameron Fleming), more sets with multiple tight ends and putting a priority on quarterback Tom Brady getting the ball out as fast as possible to intermediate targets like tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receivers Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell. Look for the quarterback to have a quick trigger this week.
Conversely, the Ravens’ defense does a pretty good job against the run.
Baltimore has been pretty stout against the run over the course of the regular season — the Ravens yielded more than 100 yards on the ground five times, and two of those came in the final two weeks of the season as they were trying to survive without vaunted defensive lineman Haloti Ngata, who was suspended for failing a PED test for what he said was Adderall. Suggs is underrated as a run stopper, and C.J. Mosley has also proven himself to be valuable when it comes to slowing down opposing backs. The Patriots are likely to run the ball just enough to keep the Ravens honest on Saturday.
Justin Forsett is underrated as a feature back.
Forsett won the starting job after Ray Rice was released, and he had a very impressive season. The Cal product, who ended the season with 235 carries for 1,266 yards and eight touchdowns, basically came out of nowhere to become the only running back in the NFL to finish with at least 1,200 rushing yards and average at least five yards per carry (5.4). The 5-foot-8. 197-pounder struggled at times down the stretch and had just 16 carries for 36 yards on Saturday against the Steelers, but will get the bulk of the work if the Ravens try and beat the Patriots on the ground next Saturday in Foxboro. In terms of the rest of their offense, we know that quarterback Joe Flacco is the sort of signal-caller capable of getting on a postseason run, especially when the Ravens hit the road. (His seven road playoff wins are the most by a quarterback since the 1970 merger.) Flacco set career-highs for regular-season passing yards (3,986) and touchdowns (27) this year. When he does throw, he’ll look for veteran receiver Steve Smith Sr. (79 catches, 134 targets, 1,065 yards, 6 TDs), Torrey Smith (49 catches, 92 targets, 767 yards, 11 TDs) and tight end Owen Daniels (48 catches, 78 targets, 527 yards, 4 TDs).
PITTSBURGH — While most of the talk in the Ravens locker room following their 30-17 win over the Steelers on Saturday night revolved around the AFC wild card round victory, some discussion involving the Patriots couldn’t be helped.
With the Patriots having already lost one AFC championship game in Foxboro to the Ravens, while narrowly managing a victory in another, the showdown between the teams at Gillette Stadium (Saturday, 4:35 p.m.) surfaced plenty of emotion and analysis even moments after the win at Heinz Field.
Here are some of the Ravens’ comments Saturday night regarding their next playoff foe, the Patriots:
“We’re going to enjoy this plane ride home, but we all know who we’re dealing with next.”
“Everybody knows the history with these two teams. We’re going to play a football game. It’s the Ravens vs. the Patriots. Everybody knows the storylines. We’re going to save that. Right now it’s still Ravens, Steelers and we’ll see you all next week.”
“We all know the matchup the NFL wants to see. Something for the TV, for the sponsors. We’ve got faith in ourselves and Ravens Nation and we’ll see if we can disrupt some people’s plans.”
“I have to go watch some film and be prepared. [Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner are] two great corners. Me and Revis has played against each other, he’s done a very good job so I anticipate watching a lot of film like I did this week and being prepared and ready.”
“That’s been my experience since I’ve been here. That’s just the way it is. If you want to go to the Super Bowl, you have to go through the Patriots first.”
“From an emotional point of view, for the guys who have played in Foxboro, I’m not going to say can give you an edge but it gives you a sense of comfort where you’re not really shaken by the fans or how loud it is because you’ve been in that situation and you’ve had experience. For guys who have played in Foxboro I feel like they will be more comfortable. It won’t be one of those situations where they freak out or freeze up.”
“We just have to go out and play our game. Play like Ravens. A lot of energy and just try and get after people. That’s all we can do. They’re a well-coached team. It’s going to be a tough challenge for us.”
|Tom Brady on D&C: Win over Ravens ‘great test of character for us as a team’||12.23.13 at 10:55 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning, following Sunday’s surprising 41-7 rout of the Ravens in Baltimore. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
“It was a great win,” Brady said. “To go on the road against a team that we’ve struggled with the last bunch of times we’ve played them, really a huge win for our season. Yeah, it was satisfying. We talked about it all week, we had a pretty tough loss in Miami, and I think fought back through a long week. We put a lot into the week. There was a lot of preparation. I don’t think there were many people that thought we could go in and beat those guys. That was really a great test of character for us as a team.”
Brady didn’t deny using the Patriots’ underdog status as a motivator for Sunday, but he insisted the players try to avoid getting caught up in what the media says about the team.
“This week everyone will be picking us,” Brady said. “Across the board, everyone’s going to think, oh, Patriots over the Bills, like it’s going to be some easy win, which is so far from the case in the NFL. I just think you have to ignore all the noise because it’s all a bunch of hot air, it’s all a bunch of B.S. You just don’t want to listen to it. You want to try to focus on what you need to focus on.
“Every team presents different challenges. We went into the game feeling like we could match up against these guys. We played great defensively, we played great on special teams against one of the best special teams units in the league. And offensively we got off to a decent start. It was a good win. Now this game that’s coming up is the one that’s the most important one of the year.”
The Patriots relied more on their running game Sunday than they have in a while, rushing the ball 34 times compared to 26 passes.
“Well, we wanted to stay balanced; we always want to stay balanced,” Brady said. “It just turned out that our execution in the run game was really good all day, and our execution in the pass game probably wasn’t as good as what it’s been. As the game evolved, we got out to a lead and then tried to just play smart and play aggressive — try to play aggressive but for the most part try to force them to defend our running game, and our running game really set the tone there the whole second half. In the first half, too, we were really efficient running the ball. Our backs did a great job finding the holes. The line did a great job against a really good defensive front.”