The Baltimore Ravens were fortunate that the Dallas Cowboys blew their chances of beating them on Sunday.
The Ravens may have won the game 31-29, but they wound up losers when they lost two of their star defensive players for the season.
17-year, Pro Bowl linebacker Ray Lewis was injured during the final two minutes of the game while making a tackle on Cowboys’ running back Phillip Tanner. An MRI confirmed that he suffered a complete tear to his right triceps; he will miss the rest of the season.
Lewis is a fixture on the Ravens’ defense and has led the team in tackling every year with 2,643 career tackles.
While Lewis did not speak to the media after the game, he did speak with head coach John Harbaugh:
“He said some things about his faith,” Harbaugh said. “And he said some things that I’ll never forget. When you look at his situation and what he’s accomplished and what he was hoping to accomplish this year, he’s going to have to accomplish those things in different ways because that’s the way it’s gone.”
At 37 years old and in his 17th season in the NFL, some question if this is a career-ending injury. No one knows for sure, but those who know Lewis best believe he will be back to end his career on his own terms.
While Lewis is out, the Ravens will use Jameel McClain, Dannell Ellerbe and Albert McCellan. They are the same combination of players used while Lewis was out last season with a toe injury.
Things went from bad to worse when the team later confirmed that cornerback Lardarius Webb tore his ACL and will also miss the rest of the season.
This is the second time Webb tore ACL, his tore it four years ago during his rookie season with the Ravens.
Webb is a bigger loss for the Ravens, this season he’s made 25 tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery. During the offseason he signed a six-year contract extension worth approximately $50 million. He was on his way to having a Pro Bowl caliber season.
“Lardarius had become one of the premier corners in the league,” Harbaugh said. “I’m biased. I’d say he’s the best. Maybe some people would question that, but I don’t question that. I see him every day.”
They will turn to Jimmy Smith while Webb is out.
Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata was also injured on Sunday. He suffered a minor MCL sprain to his right knee. He is expected to be back at practice this week.
Sunday will be a tough test when the Ravens head to Houston to take on the Texans who also have a 5-1 record. The game could potentially determine who will host the AFC title game, assuming both teams stay in the fight.
I wish Webb and Lewis the best in their recoveries. While the team feels confident that Webb will return next season it is anyone’s guess about Lewis’ future. I am fortunate that I was at the game on Sunday and got to see the “Ray Ray” dance. I hope it wasn’t the last time Lewis performed his famous dance.
Ray Lewis is my all-time favorite Raven and this injury makes me realize that the end of his career may be closer than I think. I still can’t imagine what the Ravens will be like without him, but now I don’t have a choice, I will witness it the rest of this season.