When Terrell Suggs tore his right Achilles tendon over the offseason, his Baltimore Ravens teammates were concerned, and that might be putting it mildly. How would the defense's pass rush hold up? Suggs seemed almost irreplaceable. "Guys were worried," defensive end Arthur Jones said.
In stepped Paul Kruger, a fourth-year linebacker whose understated résumé featured 6 1/2 career sacks and one start. If this did not foster much optimism within the locker room, his play soon did.
Kruger has been a force for the Ravens heading into Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots, moving seamlessly from roles at defensive end and linebacker to, he said, "kind of just doing everything."
Within the patchwork quilt that has been the Ravens' season, Kruger has been as rugged as a burlap sack. He had 7 1/2 sacks over the final eight games of the regular season, and nine total. He made a game-changing play in last weekend's divisional playoff victory over the Denver Broncos. And he has showcased such expert pass-rushing technique that his own teammates are studying film of him.
Kruger, 26, traveled a long road to reach this point.
"For me, it was just a process of figuring out where it's all going to fit together," he said.
NEW YORK TIMES
|Miami||2||Top 7th Inning|
|NY Yankees||0||Top 7th Inning|
|Philadelphia||3||Bottom 5th Inning|
|Tampa Bay||4||Bottom 4th Inning|
|Los Angeles||3||Top 5th Inning|
|Chicago Cubs||5||Bottom 1st Inning|
|Oakland||4||Bottom 1st Inning|
|Texas||0||Bottom 2nd Inning|
|Arizona - J. Collmenter||7:40 PM|
|Colorado - T. Matzek|
|Seattle - F. Hernandez||9:05 PM|
|LA Angels - M. Shoemaker|
|San Diego - T. Ross||9:15 PM|
|San Francisco - M. Bumgarner|
|Chicago||74||3rd Qtr 3:52|
|LA Clippers||8:30 PM|
|NY Rangers||0||2nd Prd 15:58|
|Aug 8 - vs. Oakland||7 pm||X||10-6|
|Aug 16 - vs. Arizona||7:30 pm||X||30-28|
|Aug 23 - at Kansas City||7 pm||X||30-12|
|Aug 28 - at Tennessee||7 pm||X||19-3|
|2014 regular season|
|Sep 7 - at St. Louis||Noon||X||34-6|
|Sep 14 - vs. New England||Noon||X||30-7|
|Sep 21 - at New Orleans||Noon||X||20-9|
|Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta||3:25 pm||X||41-28|
|Oct 2 - at Green Bay||7:25 pm||X||42-10|
|Oct 12 - vs. Detroit||Noon||X||17-3|
|Oct 19 - at. Buffalo||Noon||X||17-16|
|Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay||Noon||X||19-13 ot|
|Nov 2 - vs. Washington||Noon||X||29-26|
|Nov 9 - Bye|
|Nov 16 - at Chicago||Noon||X||21-13|
|Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay||Noon||X||24-21|
|Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina||Noon||X||31-13|
|Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets||Noon||X||30-24 ot|
|Dec 14 - at Detroit||3:25 pm||X||16-14|
|Dec 21 - at Miami||Noon||X||37-35|
|Dec 28 - vs. Chicago||Noon||X||13-9|