For the first time in franchise history, the Ravens allowed consecutive 200-yard rushing performances; however, the biggest blow came in the form of injuries.
Haloti Ngata (knee), Lardarius Webb (ACL) and Ray Lewis (triceps) all suffered injuries. Although Ngata returned after tweaking his knee, the team fears that two of their premier defensive players could be lost for the season.
Playing in the first year of his six-year, $50 million extension, Webb will likely have to wait another season for his first Pro Bowl appearance. He appeared to simply hit knees with Cowboys’ receiver Dez Bryant, but immediately dropped to the turf.
Initially, the Ravens said he had merely sprained his knee but the team now fears that he may have torn his ACL. If that is the case, it would be Webb’s second ACL tear within the past four seasons.
After the game, head coach John Harbaugh confirmed the injury, saying,“it’s a potential ACL, we’ve got a problem there.”
More troubling news came as Ray Lewis sat out the final few drives of the game with an apparent tear in his triceps.
Webb and Lewis will both have MRIs on Monday. If the tests confirm tears for either player, they will likely be sidelined for the remainder of the season.
In that case, the news will be devastating to a defensive unit that has struggled mightily despite a 5-1 record.
Lewis is clearly in decline and has been merely a shadow of the first-ballot hall of famer we have come to expect. The Ravens may not see a huge drop-off in skill at the position if Jameel McClain replaces Lewis but will certainly miss the 37-year old’s experience and leadership on the field.
Webb’s absence will be felt more accuately, as he is the only consistent player the Ravens have at cornerback. Jimmy Smith has struggled and Cary Williams routinely finds himself picked on by opposing offenses.
Williams has intercepted passes in three consecutive games, returning one for a touchdown. Even though his three interceptions lead the team, he’s often targeted as the weak link and was beat for two touchdowns on Sunday afternoon.
Webb is much like Ed Reed in the sense that opposing teams do not target passes in his direction while he is on the field. Without Webb lining up, opposing offenses may have just as much success passing as they have running in recent weeks.
This is the worst possible news for a team that isn’t used to being one of the lowest ranked defenses in the NFL.
If Webb and Lewis are indeed out for the season, it could get a lot worse from here, despite the Ravens currently holding a two-game lead in the AFC North.