Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey is out for the rest of the season. Head Coach John Harbaugh confirmed the news Monday after an MRI revealed a pectoral tear for one of Baltimore's top players.
The injury happened on the Steelers' touchdown with 1:48 left that gave them their first lead of the game. Humphrey drove and punched with his right arm as Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson dove for the end zone.
Humphrey is the Ravens' eighth starter to suffer a season-ending injury, including three in the secondary. Baltimore looked to have arguably the league's best cornerback duo entering the season, yet lost Marcus Peters shortly before Week 1 and Humphrey after 12 games.
The Ravens' other starters who have gone down are left tackle Ronnie Stanley, running backs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, safety DeShon Elliott, defensive end Derek Wolfe and linebacker L.J. Fort.
Without Humphrey, the Ravens will need either Chris Westry or Jimmy Smith to step into a starting spot – two players on opposite ends of their career. Harbaugh said he's confident Westry and Kevon Seymour (Reserve/COVID-19 list) could return Sunday in Cleveland.
Westry, 24, has shown promise in three NFL games, but is dealing with a thigh injury that held him out the past two games. He gave up the long touchdown in Chicago on a double move that nearly sunk the Ravens late. Smith, 33, is a longtime starter who moved into a reserve role this season and wasn't seeing many snaps before the Pittsburgh game, in which he played a season-high 42 (70 percent).
"We'd prefer to have [Humphrey], for sure, but we'll go off the guys we have," Harbaugh said. "We have really good players who can step in and play. We'll be ready to go."
Humphrey is second on the Ravens in tackles (58) and has a team-high 13 passes defensed. He has one interception and one forced fumble.
It was an odd season for Baltimore's two-time Pro Bowler, who signed a five-year, reported $97.5 million contract extension 14 months ago. Humphrey was on the wrong side of some big touchdowns and was burnt by Bengals rookie Ja'Marr Chase. Yet Humphrey had played better and given up fewer long plays the past three weeks.
Now the Ravens will, once again, have to figure out how to overcome more injuries. They'll have to do it against three top-10 passing offenses with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, Joe Burrow and the Bengals and Matthew Stafford and the Rams ahead on the schedule.