Providing further confirmation and digging a sharp blade deeper into the vital organs that were keeping the Ravens’ season alive, Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun reports that tests have confirmed Lardarius Webb’s ACL is torn.
Webb is the Ravens’ best cornerback, and one of the best players at his position in the entire league, so losing him for the year is a massive, crushing blow. Unfortunately, that’s likely not the only gut shot the Ravens will receive today, as we’re still waiting for confirmation of Ray Lewis’ triceps tear that would knock him out for the season too. Everybody hurts, and everybody who’s hurting plays for the Ravens.
We’ll focus on Webb for now as we brace for Lewis’ fate. During their tough early-season schedule, the Ravens have faced some elite passing offenses with top tier down-field receiving threats (Cowboys, Eagles, Patriots). That’s why Baltimore’s passing yardage allowed has escalated above their norm and sits at 260.2 after hovering at a significantly lower level last year (196.2). But that’s of a lesser concern, because to weather the early onslaught the Ravens have reverted to a structure that allows plenty of bending, but little breaking.
Despite the increased yardage they’re giving up as we inch closer to the season’s halfway mark, very little of that yardage has included a ball that lands in a receiver’s hands while said receiver happens to be standing in the end zone. While they rank 23rd in yardage, the Ravens have given up only four passing touchdowns (tied for 30th), showing a certain unmatched red-zone tenacity.
Now with Webb gone and Jimmy Smith — the Ravens’ first-round pick a year ago — stepping up, a significant source of that aggression has disappeared. Combined with the likely loss of Lewis, Webb being plucked from the Ravens’ defensive backfield means a far more inviting red zone, and therefore also more fantasy fun times.
Let’s take a gander at Baltimore’s remaining schedule, and the notable matchups that have suddenly become far more appealing:
- Week 7 @ Texans: There’s hope for you yet, Andre Johnson owner
- Week 11 @ Steelers, and Week 13 vs. Steelers: Mike Wallace needed only two catches Thursday night to finish with 92 yards.
- Week 14 @ Redskins: There’s a lot less speed and beef on the field to stop Robert Griffin III and slow his record-breaking rushing pace.
- Week 16 vs. Giants: Yep, the Giants’ offense and their 289.7 passing yards per game gets to tee off on the severely depleted Ravens secondary during championship week. Plan the parade now, owners of Eli Manning, Victor Cruz, and Hakeem Nicks.