Today the Ravens bested the Dallas Cowboys by a score of 31-29, but it wasn’t easy, it wasn’t pretty, and it certainly wasn’t cheap. The Ravens suffered two major injuries in the loss losing both Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb, maybe for the rest of the season.
Webbs injury was to his knee. He looked to have collided knees with Dez Bryant early in the game and immediately went down clutching his leg. He had to be helped off the field and went immediately to the locker-room. Early word seemed positive and indicated that Webb appeared to have a knee sprain and that he might even return to the game. As time passed with no sign of Webb, news got worse and worse. By the End of the game, word was that Webb likely has an ACL tear and is probably out for the year. While that news isnt definite until Webb undergoes an MRI tomorrow morning, You can just about take it to the bank.
The Loss of Webb is a crippling blow to the Ravens secondary. To pile on top of that, the Ravens secondary is really the only unit of the Defense that has been playing well over the past few weeks. The worst part of it all is not about the Ravens, but about Webb himself. Webb has really just emerged as a top flight corner and has already suffered one ACL tear. An injury like this takes a year to recover from and really 2 years to back to your old form. That is two years taken out of Webbs prime playing years. If Webb had been able to sustain the level of play he has had over the past 25 game for the next 7-10 years, he would have been a potential hall of fame candidate, now that future is in jeopardy for Webb. That, above all else, makes me very sad. I have my fingers firmly crossed for you Webby. I hope you are ok man.
The Injury to Lewis is probably less impactful in the short term. The Defense will rally around their fallen comrade and fight like hell next week, but long term, they will miss their beating heart. Ray has been the soul of the Ravens since day one, losing him hurts badly, not so much on the field, but just his presence in the huddle. He is the gear that makes the Ravens emotional defense function. Ever wonder why the Ravens D feeds off the home crowd so well? why the D always seems to be in perfect sync with the fans? It is all because Ray feeds off the crowd and finds a groove with them. Like with Webb, it is the long term impact that makes me sad about the Lewis injury. Is this the last NFL game Ray Lewis ever plays? will we ever see Ray coming out of the tunnel in Baltimore again? I have been psyched about my Steelers Ravens tickets in december all year long, now i feel like I almost can’t bear to go if Lewis isn’t going to be there. Those feelings will fade and I will find a way to get excited again, but it just wont be the same without Ray being Ray (If you are confused by what that means, the perfect example of Ray being Ray is that the Ravens med staff had to take his helmet away to keep him from going back into the game today, Classic Lewis). Life without Lewis wasn’t supposed to start this soon guys. I have my fingers crossed that Lewis only has a deep bruise or a slight tear to his triceps.
The silver lining, if there is one, is that the Texans have been completely exposed by the Packers tonight. The Ravens offensive personnel is pretty similar to the Packers and they run a similar attack from the no huddle so they will likely use much of Green Bays game plan next week and could find success. The other positive is that the Ravens are one of just 3 AFC teams (Texans(5-1) and Chargers(3-2))with a winning record right now and look like a lock to win the division now that they have a 2 game lead over the Bengals and a 2.5 game lead over the Steelers.