*Rumors And Opinions On Webb, Lewis Injuries *
After enjoying five weeks of good health, the Ravens defense was hit hard by the injury bug in a costly 31-29 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
Starters Lardarius Webb, Ray Lewis and Haloti Ngata all suffered injuries, and Ngata was the only player to return. Just how serious each injury is has not been confirmed by the team, but rumors and reports are running rampant.
Let's take a look …
**Cornerback Lardarius Webb
Confirmed injury by the team: Potential ACL tear
**Reports:Torn ACL (ESPN's Adam Schefter, The Sun's Aaron Wilson)
Missed time:Potentially season-ending, but nothing is concrete
When will we know for sure?MRI scheduled Monday
Next man up:Jimmy Smith will likely play in Webb's place, making Corey Graham the potential nickel What it means …
Jeff Zrebiec (The Baltimore Sun): "Other than maybe Haloti Ngata, Lardarius Webb is the player the Ravens' defense could least afford to lose and he's likely done for the season."
Ron Fritz (The Baltimore Sun): "The injury to Lardarius Webb is crushing because the Ravens no longer sack the quarterback and they no longer stop the run. The cornerbacks will be exposed and you won't be able to leave them out there alone, like you could with Webb. The injury to Webb is a shame because he was just coming into his own."
Linebacker Ray Lewis
Confirmed injury by the team: Triceps injury, but they don't think "it's really bad"
Reports: Fear of torn triceps, but not a complete tear (Fox Sports' Jay Glazer, NFL.com's Jeff Darlington, Wilson)
Missed time: Potentially season-ending, but nothing is concrete
When will we know for sure? MRI scheduled Monday
Next man up: Jameel McClain and Dannell Ellerbe are the likely candidates to move to Lewis's spot, and both will likely start
What it means …
Wilson: "Lewis has drawn criticism recently for his declining range and ability to shed blocks, but leads the team with 57 tackles and is the Ravens' emotional leader. But at age 37, would a season-ending injury to Lewis be a potential career-ending injury?"
Clark Judge (CBSSports.com): "The Ravens fear the worst for injured linebacker Ray Lewis and cornerback Ladarius Webb, and I fear the worst for the Ravens. If their injuries are as serious as suspected, the AFC North is wide open ... which means the door just was opened for a struggling Pittsburgh Steelers club."
Defensive Tackle Haloti Ngata
Confirmed injury by the team: Knee injury, "tweaked it a little bit"
Reports: Sprained MCL, aggravated minor right shoulder injury (Schefter, CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora)
Missed time: He returned to the game after being sidelined
When will we know for sure? MRI scheduled Monday
Next man up: Terrence Cody would likely move back into the starting lineup if Ngata is unable to play
What it means …
C. Williams: Dez Needs Be A Man
Immediately after Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant failed to secure a game-tying, two-point conversion pass attempt, he stood up with his hands in the air looking for a flag. The pass from Tony Romo was on target, but the ball bounced through Bryant's hands.
After the game, Bryant said he believes Cary Williams should have been called for pass interference, an accusation Williams didn't care for.
"I felt like it was a P.I. My opinion," Bryant told USA Today's Robert Klemko. "Not saying I couldn't catch it, because I feel like I can make difficult catches. But I feel like he put his arm around me. I haven't seen the play yet. But it wasn't called."
Williams was told about Bryant's claim, and responded by saying it's time for the third-year receiver to grow up.
"He needs to step up and be a man," Williams said. "You can't be a baby about stuff. You've got to man up. It's one on one. Mano-a-mano. I got you. Sometimes you're going to win. Sometimes you're going to lose.
"You've just got to be a man and accept responsibility, give credit where credit is due. If it was me I'd say, 'You know what, he made the play and I didn't.' Bottom line. Don't complain and look for a flag, man."
After reviewing the play, CSNBaltimore.com' Ray Frager, and PFT.com's Josh Alper all believe it was a clean play.
"Watching the play live and on several replays hasn't left me swayed by Bryant's opinion," wrote Alper. "There's a little contact as Bryant makes his break, but it doesn't look like a penalty at the point when Bryant was trying to catch the ball. It's one Bryant could have and probably should have caught."
Judge for yourself …
Not A Dominant Team Out There
The Ravens aren't winning pretty, but they are winning. And that can't be said for many of the other playoff contenders in the division and conference.
The Houston Texans (5-1), Cincinnati Bengals (3-3), New England Patriots (3-3) and Pittsburgh Steelers (2-3) all lost their Week 6 matchups. The Bengals and Steelers lost to teams with losing records. That puts Baltimore on top of the AFC North by two games, and tied for the lead in the AFC with the Texans.
"Here's what I take from this weekend: There isn't a dominant team out there," Judge wrote. "Atlanta? Nope. It was lucky to escape bottom feeders Carolina and Oakland. Houston. Please. You saw what happened Sunday night. And San Francisco? Forget about it. The 49ers just returned to earth, compliments of that spanking by the New York Giants.
"So who's No. 1? Answer: It really doesn't matter [until January], folks."
ESPN's Jamison Hensley is calling the Ravens the league's "ultimate survivors" and even if they win lucky, or ugly or in an inconsistent style, they shouldn't apologize for it.
"There's no style points in the NFL these days," Hensley wrote. "With the unpredictability of this league, it's about survival and there's no better team at doing that than the Ravens. …
"These Ravens are far from a perfect team. They aren't a dominant team. No one on the Ravens would even suggest this. So, what are the Ravens? They're winners, plain and simple."
Counting Dallas' Mistakes
Baltimore made NFL history yesterday, becoming only the fourth team ever to notch wins in back-to-back games in which it allowed at least 200 rushing yards in each (Brooklyn Dodgers in 1934, the Vikings in 1973, and the Eagles in 1985), per the Elias Sports Bureau.
But our John Eisenberg said the Ravens didn't find a way to win yesterday. The Cowboys found a way to not win.
The mistakes make it even a tougher pill for Dallas to swallow.
"I am sick about losing this game," Owner Jerry Jones said. "This is a very tough place to play. We made our share of mistakes."
ESPNDallas.com's looks at the Cowboys' lengthy list of "dumb" blunders, all of which helped the Ravens in their cause:
- Missed 51-yard field-goal attempt with seconds remaining
- Questionable game management, including not running another play with 22 seconds, a first down and a timeout left. That led to the missed 51-yard field goal.
- Bryant's dropped two-point conversion pass with 32 seconds remaining
- Thirteen penalties for 82 yards, with two drives ending in field goals instead of touchdowns because of pre-snap penalties
- Giving up an NFL record-tying, 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown
"I don't know if we necessarily deserve to win this game, but we'll take it," quarterback Joe Flacco said. "We'll get the hell out of here really quick and go home and fall asleep and wake up the next morning with a win."
- @ravens: Today's honorary captain is @Orioles Manager Buck Showalter. He's getting a huge ovation. #GoBuck … Buck's decked out in #Ravens gear. Gives the crowd a tip of the cap and a fist pump. Very cool scene here at M&T Bank Stadium. Go @Orioles! [Twitter]
- @ravens: Hadn't thought about this until just now. But aren't you glad John Harbaugh didn't try to ice Dan Bailey on the final FG attempt? [Twitter]
- @jasonbuttcbs: Torrey Smith: "I'm so glad we were able to move the ball so you guys can stop asking us about press-man." [Twitter]
- @mattvensel on the Ravens deactivating Thompson: And consider a message sent to Deonte Thompson, who is inactive a week after fumbling on a kickoff return against the Chiefs. #Ravens [Twitter]
- @jamisonhensley: That drop by Dickson looks even worse since Pitta made that diving catch earlier in the game. [Twitter]
- @albertbreer: Freakin' incredible end to Cowboys-Ravens. Seems like Garrett's honeymoon in Dallas is over. There'll be heat for this tomorrow. [Twitter]
- The Harbaugh vs. Garrett coaching decision worked out well for Ravens. [The Baltimore Sun]
- @pmgleason [Ravens PR]: #Ravens have now won 12-straight home games vs. the NFC. Baltimore extends its overall home winning streak to an NFL-best 14 games. [Twitter]
- @gerrysandusky: The Ravens only had the ball for 17 plays in the second half. The Cowboys had the ball for 18 plays on their last TD drive. [Twitter]