McPhee, Ravens Turn Up The Heat

Led by rookie DE Pernell McPhee, Baltimore notched five sacks versus the Chiefs.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Saturday, August 20th, 2011 at 11:12 am | Categories: 2011 Season Gameday, Preseason 2 vs Chiefs, Ryan Mink

Ravens rookie defensive end Pernell McPhee is trying to see the positive side of having two forced fumbles overturned in two games.

There’s the obvious, that he continues to get to the ball and create havoc. But McPhee sees another positive.

“If they keep overturning the calls like that, that means I get another opportunity to line up and try to make a play again,” the fifth-round Mississippi State product said.

McPhee led an aggressive Ravens pass rush in the team’s 31-13 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. Baltimore logged five sacks Friday night after notching just two in their first preseason contest against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Pernell McPhee

And according to linebacker Terrell Suggs, who looks to be getting more help in the sacks department this year, it’s just a slice of what fans can expect later on.

The Ravens logged a franchise-low 27 sacks in 2010, despite 11 from the Pro Bowler Suggs. This year, Baltimore is getting more pressure with first-year Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano’s aggressive schemes and a group of in-house solutions – including McPhee.

“I think we’re right on pace, especially because we’ve only shown a quarter of the things that we’re going to do in the regular season,” Suggs said.

Last week, McPhee shot the gap and blindsided Eagles quarterback Mike Kafka as he was in the red zone. The fumble was recovered by Lardarius Webb and returned 93 yards for a touchdown, but it was called back due to the tuck rule.

The infamous rule struck McPhee again in Baltimore. McPhee timed the snap well, burst up the middle and barreled straight into backup quarterback Tyler Palko. The fumble was recovered by Arthur Jones, who returned it to the 2-yard line, but officials again reversed the call.

Teammates have been telling McPhee to slow down a bit and let the game come to him, which the rookie said helped him play against the run better Friday night. But it’s hard to argue against his wild-man’s pass rush.

“I would have never thought [my NFL career would have started like] this,” McPhee said. “But I know I go hard, I run to the ball and I like getting to the ball. So I know if I keep doing it, I’ll be a playmaker one day.”

In addition to McPhee, the Ravens got sacks from safety Haruki Nakamura, linebacker Prescott Burgess, defensive tackle Lamar Divens and undrafted rookie defensive tackle Bryan Hall. Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and cornerback Lardarius Webb shared a sack.

Baltimore also once again had good pressure on the outside from linebacker Paul Kruger, who teamed up with fellow pass rusher Sergio Kindle to lay a big hit on Palko near the end of the first half.

It’s all a positive sign after pundits felt Baltimore would have to look outside the organization for pass-rush help. The Ravens are finding it right on their own roster.

“We got some four-man pressure, which was really good,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “I thought the blitz stuff was pretty good too.”

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