Ravens Suffer Even More Injuries

But Baltimore will have a bye week to heal before their divisional playoff game.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Sunday, January 1st, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Categories: 2011 Season Gameday, AFC North, Ryan Mink, Week 17 at Bengals

It’s a good thing the Ravens got the first-round playoff bye.

They may have had to play without several starters and other key players otherwise.

After injuries piled up last week against Cleveland, the already ailing Ravens suffered even more Sunday evening in Cincinnati. It got so bad that the Ravens had to get creative with who they were playing where.

The Ravens reported concussions to cornerback Jimmy Smith and safety Tom Zbikowski. Linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo suffered a quad sprain.

Linebacker Jameel McClain sprained his knee, but returned to the field afterwards as the team was low on players and close to the win.

“We were down 6, 7, 8 guys at the end of the game with various things,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “Nothing serious, it doesn’t look like.

“We had three or four concussions, we had an MCL sprain and off the top of my head a couple other things. We were scrambling. Starters were playing on special teams.”

This past week, Baltimore dealt with injuries to Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda, cornerback Cary Williams, linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, kicker Billy Cundiff, defensive end Cory Redding and wide receiver Anquan Boldin.

Yanda, Williams, Cundiff and Redding returned to the field for the regular-season finale. But Cundiff and Yanda, at least, weren’t 100 percent.

Now they and the Ravens’ new injured players will have an extra week to heal with a first-round playoff bye and additional time off.

“Winning the game was huge, but this bye week is going to be huge,” running back Ray Rice said. “We know what a bye week does. It gets people healthy.

“We came into this game a little banged up, but you get that bye week and we’re going to come back full strength. The Ravens at full strength is a great team.”

The Ravens are 4-0 following a bye week during Harbaugh’s tenure.

Getting the break heading into the playoffs is something new for Harbaugh’s Ravens, however. As Harbaugh said, it can be “impossible, hard or harder” to get to the Super Bowl. With a bye and home playoff game, it’s “hard,” he said.

Linebacker Ray Lewis hasn’t had a bye since 2006. Then, the Indianapolis Colts came into Baltimore and knocked off the Ravens, 15-6, in the divisional round.

“We got a different dynamic with a different vision,” Lewis said. “So, every step is going to be something totally new for us. Our coaches will approach it right and most importantly, our players will approach it right.”

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