The Ravens have already suffered an onslaught of injuries this year, but the biggest yet came Sunday afternoon.
Six-time Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda fractured his left ankle in Sunday’s 24-10 win over the Cleveland Browns, Head Coach John Harbaugh announced.
Yanda is arguably the best guard in the NFL. Beyond that, he’s the heart and soul of the offensive line and one of the team’s primary leaders. For a team looking to recommit to a physical running offensive attack, losing Yanda adds yet another roadblock for a banged-up offense.
“There is not a word in the English dictionary that can describe what Marshal is to us,” said another veteran leader, Terrell Suggs. “It hurts. That hurts to lose your bell cow.
“We are going to miss him, but we still have to play Raven football. He would want us to play Raven football, and he would hold us to that standard.”
The Ravens have now suffered three season-ending injuries along the offensive line. Starting left guard Alex Lewis (shoulder) and rookie backup Nico Siragusa (knee) are also done for the year.
Yanda was rolled up on during the first play of the second half, a 2-yard run by running back Terrance West. There was a pile of bodies on the ground around Yanda’s feet and he went to the turf.
Yanda peeled himself off the ground and returned to the huddle, but couldn’t continue and sat down. After being seen by team physicians, he limped off the field, shaking off assistance from trainers.
It’s hard to believe that Yanda is lost for the year. Last season, Yanda kept playing despite a major shoulder injury by switching from right guard to left guard. He has missed just five starts over the past eight seasons. The last time he missed extended time was in 2008.
“Marshal is one of the toughest human beings I’ve ever met in my life,” center Ryan Jensen said. “To see him get up and then go back down, you know it’s something serious.”
“It’s always tough to see a guy like that, especially a leader and future Hall of Famer like Marshal Yanda, get hurt, because you kind of view those guys as invincible,” left tackle Ronnie Stanley added. “Those guys are just human like we all are. We have to come to that reality and keep pushing.”
Tony Bergstrom, for whom the Ravens traded as they were setting the 53-man roster, took Yanda’s place for the second half. Bergstrom played in 15 games last season with the Houston Texans. He started three games for the Oakland Raiders in 2015.
The Ravens still had offensive success after Yanda left the game. They ran for 67 yards in the first half and finished with 136 while Yanda was out for all but one play of the second half. Still, not having Yanda will certainly impact the Ravens’ offensive attack.
“It’s brutal. Obviously, you can’t replace a guy like that,” Bergstrom said. “These 14 boots don’t even compare to the shoes you have to fill with him.”
The Ravens also lost undrafted rookie linebacker Bam Bradley to a season-ending ACL tear during Sunday's matchup against the Browns. Bradley had emerged as a strong special teams player and was in competition for reps at inside linebacker on defense.
Defensive tackle Brandon Williams (foot) left the game early and did not return. Harbaugh said he hasn’t heard of any long-term problem with Williams and thinks he’s OK.
Harbaugh isn’t going to wallow in Yanda’s injury. The Ravens have already taken numerous shots this year and are 2-0 despite it.
“I don’t want to lament it,” Harbaugh said. “We’re going to keep faith, we’re going to maintain our faith in what we believe in.
“When you face adversity and things like that, that’s an opportunity to do something with it. You know the old saying: There’s no testimony without a test. So bring on the test. We’re OK.”