While it took the Baltimore Ravens’ offense didn’t get going until the second half of the team’s 27-22 win over the Tampa Buccaneers, their defense made a quicker turnaround and put the clamps on Tom Brady and Co. after a rough first quarter.
Leading that charge was veteran edge defender Justin Houston who not only gave the offense another chance to put up points just before halftime but helped Brady make history as well.
He recorded a sack on back-to-back plays late in the second quarter to officially make Brady the most-sacked quarterback in NFL history, surpassing Ben Roethlisberger for the top spot on the infamous list.
“Anytime you can put that under your belt against Tom Brady, that’s a plus,” Houston said in his postgame press conference on October 27, 2022. “I’ll take it.”
“You put pressure on him, make him hold the ball, that’s the biggest thing. Tom, he’s a coach on the field. He sees everything before it even happens. Anytime you can adjust and make him think just a little bit, that’s what you want.”
The Ravens’ former division rival was sacked a record 554 times during his 18-year career as the face of the franchise for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Since Brady is in his 23rd season it makes sense that he’d eventually play his way to the top of this list despite being one of the best at avoiding sacks by getting the ball out of his hands quickly.
“It’s not surprising because I’m pretty sure he’s the oldest quarterback and he’s played the longest out of everybody,” Houston said. “So it’s not surprising that that’s the case.”
This marked his second straight game recording a pair of sacks since returning from missing the previous three with a groin injury. The four-time Pro Bowler is having a great season and feels rejuvenated in his second year with the team.
“I’m playing well, I feel young again,” Houston said. “I’m blessed beyond measure. God, he’s filled my heart with joy and he’s playing through me. I’m just happy to continue to be playing at this age.”
His second sack also tied him with Chandler Jones of the Las Vegas Raiders for the third most career sacks among active players with 108. He now leads the Ravens with six sacks in four and a half games. Playing fewer snaps has allowed him to be more effective third down and in obvious passing situations as he had had his best games playing just 40 total defensive snaps between the two according to Pro Football Reference.
Defensive Line Played Well
After getting blown off the ball and bullied on the Buccaneers’ first two drives of the game by a banged-up and underwhelming interior offensive line, the Ravens’ interior stepped up and was consistently disruptive for the remainder of the game.
With six-time Pro Bowl defensive end Calais Campbell out with an illness, third-year pros Justin Madubuike and Broderick Washington, rookie Travis Jones, and journeyman veteran Brent Urban carried the load and helped in the effort to give up the team’s fewest rushing yards (44) and yards per attempt (2.9) of the season.
Washington led the team with two pass deflections by batting a pair of balls down at the line of scrimmage and tied for the position lead in total tackles with three. Jones batted a pass down as well and recorded a solo tackle. Madubuike also recorded three total tackles, a pair of quarterback hits, and his third full sack of the season two plays after getting flagged for a questionable roughing the passer penalty.
Ravens Could Run The Table
With their victory over Tampa, the Ravens won consecutive games for the first time this season in what could be the start of a lengthy winning streak. If they play complementary smash-mouth football as they did in the second half of their Week 8 game the rest of the way, there’s a strong possibility they don’t lose another regular season game.
As it stands right now, the Ravens aren’t slated to play a team with a winning record until they face the Cincinnati Bengals (4-3) on the road in the regular season finale. All of their games before that will come against teams currently ranked last or third in their respective divisions with the exception of the Atlanta Falcons (3-4) who moved into first place in the NFC South for the time being after the Buccaneers fell to 3-5.
The Ravens could have the AFC North title wrapped up before they visit their division rivals in Week 18 since they already beat the Bengals and Cleveland Browns once and still have yet to play the middling Steelers.
If they complete the season sweep of the Browns and do the same with Pittsburgh, there might not even be a need to play their starters much if at all if they don’t secure the top seed and home-field advantage which will likely be claimed by the Buffalo Bills.