No Player Tougher Than Yanda

The Pro Bowl right guard played through pain and had a huge impact in Baltimore’s win.

Posted by Garrett Downing on Monday, January 2nd, 2012 at 10:32 am | Categories: 2011 Season Gameday, Garrett Downing, Week 17 at Bengals

Marshal Yanda hardly practiced last week because he was in so much pain. The Pro Bowl right guard has thigh and rib contusions, and the rib injury makes it difficult for him to breathe.

The pain was still there on Sunday, but Yanda decided to suit up and play through it, and it took no time to see how important he is to the Ravens’ offense.

On the fourth play of the game, Yanda came off the line and delivered a crushing block on Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga to free running back Ray Rice, who took the carry 70 yards for the touchdown and early lead.
“Marshal Yanda shouldn’t even be playing,” Rice said after the game. “It was huge. The run game is different when he’s not in there. For him to say, ‘You know what, I’m going to tough this one out because I know what’s at stake,’ that shows what kind of guys we have on our team.”

Yanda played a key part in clearing holes for the running game that had another impressive performance, as Rice ran for 191 yards and two touchdowns.

“It was a huge boost,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said about Yanda playing. “He didn’t decide until today. We thought there was a chance he would play, but weren’t totally sure. There’s not a tougher player I’ve been around in 27 years of coaching.”
“For Marshal to come back and play when we thought he was going to miss two weeks showed toughness,” quarterback Joe Flacco added. “It really makes you look at those guys in a whole different light and say, ‘Wow.’”
Yanda, who was selected to his first Pro Bowl last week, signed a five-year, $32 million contract extension with Baltimore in the offseason. Since then, he’s arguably been the Ravens’ top lineman.
“There is a reason why he got paid the money he did. I’m not saying it’s about the money, but it’s well-deserved,” Rice said. “He’s a Baltimore Raven.”
The injuries forced Yanda out of the game last week against the Cleveland Browns, and earlier in the week it looked like he had a slim chance of playing in Cincinnati. He didn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday, but returned as a limited participant on Friday and the team rallied around his toughness.
“You see him after the game and you see him on Monday, you’re like, ‘We might as well prepare without Yanda,’” Rice said. “But then you get out there Friday, and you know he’s in pain but doesn’t complain, and he’s good to go. That’s the kind of guy he is.”
Late in Sunday’s game, Yanda aggravated the rib injury again by falling on it. Again, he played through the pain and helped the Ravens take the AFC North crown to secure a first-round bye and home playoff game.
The best part is that Yanda now has two weeks to recover before the Ravens play again
“I’m hurting right now, but it’s all good because we won,” Yanda told the Carroll County Times. “That was the goal. That was the objective to play because they needed me. I played and we won and it don’t get no better than that.”

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