Both Terrell Suggs and Ben Roethlisberger suffered major injuries on the same day two weeks ago. Suggs tore his biceps, while Roethlisberger tore his meniscus. Yet, both of their main goals are the same: play against each other in a fight for first place in the AFC North on November 6th. Just three weeks after both of their injuries.
Suggs and Roethlisberger have had some great battles over the years. Both are tough competitors who love being a part of the Baltimore-Pittsburgh rivalry. Suggs loves sacking Roethlisberger, and Roethlisberger loves throwing touchdowns on Baltimore’s defense.
Since 2008, when the John Harbaugh-Joe Flacco era began in Baltimore, Suggs has 8.5 sacks against Pittsburgh (7.5 on Roethlisberger). Suggs has sacked Roethlisberger more times than any other player in the NFL has, albeit he does play him 2-3 times a year.
When looking at the Baltimore-Pittsburgh rivalry over the years, many faces come to mind. Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and Haloti Ngata from Baltimore. Hines Ward, Troy Polamalu, and Ike Taylor from Pittsburgh, just to name a few of many from each. Nowadays those main players from the 2000s rivalry are gone. Not many remain besides Terrell Suggs, Joe Flacco, Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown.
People have felt that, as of late, the once most infamous rivalry in the NFL between these teams has simmered down. Don’t tell Suggs or Roethlisberger that. Both are risking major injuries just three weeks after sustaining them to play each other. Both know that their time in the NFL is limited. Roethlisberger probably has more years than Suggs left, but it’s not a secret that they will retire sooner rather than later.
For both teams, this game will be the most important one of the season yet. The winner comes out on top of the AFC North. Baltimore follows this home matchup with another rivalry match against the Cleveland Browns. The Ravens may be in a rut as of the month of October, but the season is far from over. These two games are pivotal to the Ravens’ 2016 season, and Terrell Suggs knows that.
Suggs leads the defense. Flacco may be the face of the franchise after Ray Lewis’ departure, but Suggs is an unquestioned leader in Baltimore. He has played through a torn biceps before, he missed all last season with a torn Achilles tendon, and he knows his matchups with Pittsburgh are limited. The Ravens need him on the field, along with the other injured leaders (Steve Smith Sr., C.J. Mosley) on the squad.
Baltimore and Pittsburgh were given a gift today in London at Wembly Stadium as the Cincinnati Bengals tied the Washington Redskins 27-27. Cincinnati, who have had the Ravens’ number lately, is off to an uncharacteristically slow start. Their 3-4-1 record allows even more cushion to whomever wins next week between Baltimore and Pittsburgh.
This year has been an unusual one for the AFC North, aside from the 0-8 Cleveland Browns. Through eight weeks, only the Steelers have a winning record, and it is only by one game. The Ravens can take advantage of an off year in the North, and Suggs’s availability is an important part of accomplishing their goals.