Monday, October 15, 2012

Baltimore's Narrow Victory over Dallas Comes with a Huge Price

Despite allowing the now 2-3 Dallas Cowboys to posses the ball for 40 minutes and running the ball for 227 yards and a touchdown, the Baltimore Ravens captured a 31-29 victory on Sunday afternoon and improved to 5-1.

The victory, coming after Dallas kicker Dan Bailey missed a late 51-yard field goal, was Baltimore's 15th consecutive win in front of the home crowd at M&T Bank Stadium. Heading in to the matchup, Baltimore's already banged up defensive unit was ranked 22nd against the run (No. 8 overall).

After allowing 481 yards and 30 first downs against Tony Romo's offense, more importantly the 5.4 yards per carry average on 42 rushing attempts, Baltimore's struggles have been put on full blast.

Baltimore's apparent defensive weakness, Dez Bryant's three drops (leads league) and Jacoby Jones' 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown (tied for longest of all-time) was all overshadowed by three key injuries that could have a huge impact on how the remainder of the season plays out.
We'll know more on the extent of the injuries by the time Monday afternoon rolls around, but it's sure not looking good. Baltimore cornerback Lardarius Webb went down with a right knee injury, and it has been speculated that he has torn his ACL. A torn ACL would likely mean season-ending knee surgery.

The captain and the heart and soul of the Baltimore defense, linebacker Ray Lewis, left the game with an apparent triceps injury.

Neither returned to the game after suffering their respective injuries, and head coach John Harbaugh already stated that he expects Webb to be out for the remainder of the season. It almost seems inevitable for him at this point. As for Lewis, Harbaugh and the team have speculated that he has suffered a torn triceps.

While a torn triceps may not exactly end Lewis' 2012 season, it would at the very least keep him out a couple of months.

Nose tackle Haloti Ngata, while he finished the game, was said to have suffered a sprained knee during the matchup as well. He entered the game with an ailing shoulder but, after suffering the knee sprain, was shown favoring his left leg a little more than his right leg in between plays.
I wouldn't expect Ngata's knee injury to hold him back too much and we wont know all the gory details of the extent of Webb and Lewis' injuries until they undergo their scheduled MRIs on Monday.

Either way, Baltimore should be concerned after narrowly escaping Dallas––you can thank a couple of key dropped passes and 13 penalties on Dallas' part––and allowing teams to put up 200 rushing yards in back-to-back weeks for the first time in franchise history.

All Pro linebacker Terrell Suggs (achilles) isn't even expected to return to action until at least after the team's Week 8 bye. With the 5-1 Houston Texans playing host to Baltimore next weekend and 3+ playmaking defenders expected to be out of the lineup, Baltimore will need Joe Flacco's no-huddle offense to be in tip-top shape.

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