BALTIMORE — Baltimore Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis was scratched for the second consecutive game due to a painful toe injury.
It marks the second game in a row that Lewis was deactivated after snapping his 57-game consecutive streak Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Lewis attempted to play after being extremely limited in practice all week, but ultimately the toe didn’t respond well enough to risk playing him this early in his recovery from an injury suffered against the Seattle Seahawks.
"Can I play with it? Absolutely," Lewis said during an NFL Network interview before the Ravens’ 16-6 win Thursday night. "There’s a large amount of pain there, but I think it’s more importantly about the injury. Do I go and reinjure it on a very short week and fight it the entire rest of the season instead of just going ahead and get through this stretch right now."
Lewis denied rumors that the injury could sideline him for the remainder of the season or cause the end of his career, saying: "I think all of those reports are terrible."
The Carroll County Times first reported that Lewis would definitely miss one game and possibly additional games with a worst-case scenario of him being sidelined for four games.
"Coach [John Harbaugh] walked up to me and we looked at each other and he said, ‘The best thing to probably do is just sit this one out," Lewis said. "We made the decision based on we have a long rest period coming up after this. So, it gives me a real opportunity to come back totally 100 percent."
With inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe out with lingering hamstring and groin injuries aggravated against the Bengals, the Ravens started a pair of former undrafted free agent at inside linebacker in Jameel McClain and Albert McClellan.
McClain finished with eight tackles, tying safety Bernard Pollard for the team lead.
And McClellan had four tackles in his first NFL start.
"I felt good, I just didn’t want to be too fast to the ball," McClellan said. "That was my main problem all week and I felt like I played really good. Ray told me what he saw on film. He’s more experienced at watching film and picking up tendencies. He let me know what he saw and to be patient. Patience is a virtue.
"It’s a huge night, another milestone personally, first start as an NFL player. I wasn’t that nervous. I’m kind of mad that I was close to getting a sack and missed that opportunity, I missed a tackle for a loss. I was hustling."
They used special team ace Brendon Ayanbadejo on third downs.
Lewis has extra time to recover since the Ravens don’t play again until their Dec. 4 game at the Cleveland Browns.
If the Ravens opt to sit Lewis against Cleveland, they could try to get him back on the field Dec. 11 against the Indianapolis Colts or Dec. 18 at the San Diego Chargers.
"The team is well-prepared," Lewis said. "We have three big conference games coming up."
The Ravens also deactivated cornerback Chris Carr (back), defensive tackle Arthur Jones (concussion) linebacker Sergio Kindle, running back Anthony Allen (hamstring) and wide receiver Tandon Doss.
Wide receiver Lee Evans (left ankle) was active along with kick returner David Reed, who was scratched last week after fumbling twice against the Seattle Seahawks.
The Ravens used Tom Zbikowski on kickoff returns, but Reed did see action in kick coverage.
Rookie linebacker Josh Bynes was active after being promoted from the practice squad.
The 49ers deactivated quarterback Scott Tolzie, wide receiver Brett Swain, cornerback Shawntae Spencer, fullback Bruce Miller (concussion), offensive guards Daniel Kilgore and Mike Person and nose guard Ian Williams.
Moran Norris started in place of Miller.
NO SACKS ALLOWED: The Ravens’ offensive line gave up no sacks for the first time this season.
They’ve surrendered only two sacks in the past three games, giving quarterback Joe Flacco plenty of time to operate.
"I didn’t even know that," six-time Pro Bowl center Matt Birk said. "They’re a great defense, first of all. We just battled out there. Giving up no sacks speaks as much as guys getting open and Joe getting rid of the ball quickly as much as it does to the protection. We had a chance to stay balanced and ran the ball the whole game and didn’t turn the ball over."
FAMILY TIME: Jack and Jackie Harbaugh, the parents of Ravens coach John Harbaugh and Jim Harbaugh, visited with their sons before kickoff. Then, they left the field to watch the game in a private area of the stadium to avoid being on camera.
"He just really doesn’t want any cameras on him during the game," John Harbaugh said of Jack Harbaugh before kickoff. "He has been holding up well. He’ll be nervous. This has been tough on them. It’s been great, but they’re torn, I think. They want to go through it. It’ll be a new experience for them, too."
INJURY REPORT: The Ravens reported no new injuries.
However, running back Ray Rice had his hand and thumb taped up after the game.
TIME OFF: The Ravens’ next practice is Monday, so they have some down time before beginning preparations for the Cleveland Browns.
"I’m going to be with my family, give thanks, celebrate Thanksgiving and get as much turkey in my system," Birk said. "If everything goes perfect, I’ll catch a nap on the couch in the afternoon. That’s about as good as it gets."
QUICK HITS: The 49ers won the coin toss and elected to have Baltimore receive. … The Ravens’ game captains were free safety Ed Reed, punter Sam Koch and offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie. … The 49ers entered the game with the top-ranked run defense and hadn’t allowed a rushing touchdown. "It’s not a game that you necessary get yourself jacked about, but it is what it is," fullback Vonta Leach said. "They’re the No.1 defensive team and we want to be able run the ball. I think it’s going to be a good matchup. They have a lot of good ‘backers. Their linebackers, their whole defensive front seven is pretty good so we’ll see." … The Ravens improved to 11-5 against the NFC under John Harbaugh. They’ve won 11 consecutive games against NFC teams at home and are 17-1 dating back to 2003. … The Ravens are now 29-5 under Harbaugh when they score first, 6-0 this season. … The Ravens are on a 19-game streak of not allowing opponents to score on their opening drive of the game. … The Ravens are 9-2 when they wear black jerseys, 6-0 under Harbaugh. … The Ravens are now 9-5 under Harbaugh in prime-time games. It was the Ravens’ first win in a Thursday game, improving to 1-3. … Running back Ray Rice generated 83 total yards on 59 rushing yards and 24 receiving yards. He now ranks second on the Ravens’ all-time list for yards from scrimmage, passing wide receiver Derrick Mason (5,788 yards). Rice has 5,803 yards, ranking behind former running back Jamal Lewis (9,166 yards from scrimmage). … Joe Flacco has won 16 of his last 17 starts at home, completing 61.1 percent of his throws for 4,038 yards, 25 touchdowns and six interceptions for a 98.4 passer rating. … Defensive end Cory Redding’s 2 1/2 sacks are a new career-high, and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata tied a career-high with two sacks.