Los Angeles Times

McPhee enjoys regular-season debut

Rookie defensive end Pernell McPhee fared decently in his regular-season debut with the Ravens.

The organization's second of two fifth-round picks in April, McPhee finished with one tackle, one tipped pass and one fumble recovery in the team's 35-7 rout of the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. 

Perhaps his most significant play occurred in the fourth quarter, when he pounced on a fumble caused when inside linebacker Ray Lewis wrapped up running back Mewelde Moore after a 23-yard reception.

"It felt real good," McPhee said after Sunday's game. "I just hope it will show up on the film that I was hustling, hustling my butt off because I think he had broke off something like 30 yards down the field, and I was right there when Ray hit him. I just fell on the ball. So I hope it'll show up on the tape that I like to hustle and will run down the field."

McPhee conceded that he wasn't entirely sure that the ball was live when he saw it bouncing around his feet.

"I just got down because we're trained that if it's a loose ball, pick it up or get on top of it," he said. "So the first thing that was on my mind was, get on top."

Coach John Harbaugh sounded pleased with McPhee's performance.

"We saw the same thing we saw in the preseason," Harbaugh said Monday. "He’s a factor on pass rush. The play that comes to mind more than anything was the fumble recovery. They got the screen, and the walls broke out and it looked like he was really running. And Ray [Lewis] ran him down and knocked the ball loose and Pernell was just running like crazy – the whole defense was pursuing Pernell – [and] the ball was right at his feet. And you preach that all time. [When] you run to the ball and you play hard and you play with recklessness like that, good things happen.  That was a play for him that was big for us.”

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