Ray Lewis, Lardarius Webb headline Week 6′s injury roundup

14 Oct

No team came out of Sunday's action with more serious injuries than the Baltimore Ravens, who lost two key starters, possibly for the remainder of the 2012 season. First to go down was cornerback Lardarius Webb, who ESPN's Adam Schefter reports did suffer a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Webb was signed to a six-year, $50 million contract on April 6 that included a $10 million signing bonus and $15 million in guaranteed money.

The other key injury for the Ravens is inside linebacker Ray Lewis, who injured his triceps during Sunday's win over the Dallas Cowboys. Head coach John Harbaugh downplayed Lewis' injury, saying "I don't think it's really bad," but the veteran will undergo an MRI to determine the severity of his injury. In addition to Lewis and Webb, perennial Pro Bowl defensive lineman Haloti Ngata fought through knee and shoulder injuries to post six tackles and a sack on Sunday. Second-year cornerback Jimmy Smith also left the game with a groin strain.

The Cowboys didn't come out of the 31-29 loss to the Ravens unscathed. Running back DeMarco Murray suffered a sprained foot and will undergo an MRI on Monday. Defensive end Sean Lissemore (ankle) and first-round cornerback Morris Claiborne (knee) were also injured on Sunday, though Claiborne would return.

Cleveland Browns first-round running back Trent Richardson suffered a rib injury in their 34-24 win over the Cincinnati Bengals and will undergo an MRI on Monday. Richardson only gained 37 yards on 14 carries and saw his four-game rushing touchdown streak come to an end with his early exit on Sunday.

Staying with the running back position, Bilal Powell of the New York Jets suffered a dislocated shoulder in their 35-9 win over the Indianapolis Colts. Powell, the team's third-down back, is second on the team with 131 rushing yards. Powell is expected to miss at least one game, which coupled with an ankle injury for Joe McKnight, leaves the Jets thin in the backfield as Shonn Greene and rookie Jonathan Grimes are the only two healthy backs.

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb exited Sunday's 19-16 overtime loss to the Buffalo Bills with a rib injury. Kolb will undergo X-rays, but with John Skelton completing just 2 of 10 pass attempts and tossing a costly interception that led to the game-winning field goal in overtime, the Cardinals will certainly hope to have No. 4 as they prepare to face the Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers before the bye week.

New England Patriots wide receiver Brandon Lloyd caught six passes for 80 yards on 12 targets, but suffered a left shoulder injury on the final target. Lloyd laid out for a ball down the right sideline on the opening play of the Patriots' final possession, landing awkwardly on the joint. Patriots wide receiver and special teams standout Matt Slater limped off the field following a fourth-quarter punt and running back Brandon Bolden suffered a knee injury while covering a kickoff in the second quarter. The Patriots, who were already playing without starting safety Steve Gregory (hip), lost Patrick Chung to a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter. Without Chung and Gregory, the Patriots had second-round pick Tavon Wilson and sixth round pick Nate Ebner in the back-end of the secondary for Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson's game-winning 46-yard touchdown pass to Sidney Rice.

The San Francisco 49ers have a short week to prepare for the Seahawks, who they'll host on "Thursday Night Football." Left tackle Joe Staley may not be available after leaving Sunday's loss to the New York Giants with a concussion. Staley will have to pass the league's protocol before he's cleared to return, which could mean Alex Boone starts at left tackle on Thursday.

In the Sunday night game, a pair of Green Bay Packers — D.J. Smith and first-round pick Nick Perry — suffered knee injuries and did not return. The Packers dressed nine linebackers and were able to account for those absences. Packers cornerback Sam Shields was kicked in the shin and carted off to the locker room in the fourth quarter. The Houston Texans lost right guard Antoine Caldwell to a concussion, with Ben Jones replacing him for the majority of the game. The Texans rotate the right side of their offensive line, so Jones had a lot of experience with the first-team offense before he was pressed into service on Sunday night.

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With injuries to Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb, Baltimore’s shaky defense takes still more hits

14 Oct

This is not your father's Baltimore Ravens defense.

Ever since the Ravens franchise moved from Cleveland after the 1995 season, this is an organization built on the single pillar of dominant defense. From the days of Sam Adams and Tony Siragusa, to the current era of Haloti Ngata and Ed Reed, there's never been a serious space of time in which the Ravens haven't turned opposing offenses into mush.

That's already changed this season, and if the rumors are true, Baltimore's defense will take two major hits following the team's 31-29 win over the Dallas Cowboys. According to Jeff Darlington of the NFL Network, the Ravens fear that linebacker Ray Lewis (torn triceps) and cornerback Lardarus Webb (torn ACL) will miss the remainder of the season.

[Also: Undefeated Falcons find way to pull off another win]

The two players, both of whom are obviously crucial to the Ravens' success, went out at various times in the game and the effect of their absences was obvious. They will each undergo MRIs on Monday, but according to Darlington, the team fears the worst.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh confirmed after the game that Webb's prognosis is anything but positive.

"Lardarius doesn't look good right now," the coach said. "It looks like a potential ACL. We've got a problem there, but we'll find out for sure in a little bit. Ray had a tricep -- I don't think it's really bad. We'll see on that."

The Ravens allowed 227 rushing yards to the Cowboys, the most in a single game in franchise history, allowed 481 total yards, and Dallas had the ball on offense for over 40 minutes.

[Also: Cleveland QB Brandon Weeden gets first win on 29th birthday]

It was perhaps the most atypical result you could expect -- a Ravens victory in which their defense was the problem. It doesn't get any easier for the Ravens -- they face the Houston Texans next week.

"It's not something we're liking right now," Ngata said after the game. "Hopefully we can go back to the drawing board, have a good week of practice and make sure that it doesn't happen next week, because Arian Foster is a great running back."

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Ravens CB Webb out with knee injury (Yahoo! Sports)

14 Oct
BALTIMORE (AP) -- Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb might have torn the ACL in his right knee Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.
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Jones’ kick return lifts Ravens over Cowboys 31-29 (Yahoo! Sports)

14 Oct

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, center, rushes past Dallas Cowboys defenders Mike Jenkins, right, and Bruce Carter in the first half of an NFL football game in Baltimore, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Eight yards deep in the end zone when he caught the kickoff, Jacoby Jones had an instant to decide: take a knee or run.

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Baltimore’s Jacoby Jones ties NFL record with 108-yard kick return, goes completely untouched in the process

14 Oct

Going into their Week 6 matchup with the Dallas Cowboys, the Baltimore Ravens were not at all happy with their return game. Especially at the start of the second half of their win last Sunday over the Kansas City Chiefs, when rookie Deonte Thompson fumbled the opening return, giving the Chiefs optimal field position (which, as it turns out, is generally wasted on the Chiefs).

[Also: Undefeated Falcons find way to pull off another win]

However, special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg saw enough positives on that play to forecast better days ahead.

"There were so many good things on that particular piece of video that we're going to reinforce the positive and correct the things that we need to correct and go to the next opportunity and look forward to a better result," Rosburg told the team's official website.

And as it turned out, Rosburg was right. With 11:42 left in the third quarter, receiver Jacoby Jones took a kickoff 8 yards in the end zone, and ran completely untouched into the other end zone.

The play tied the league record for return length. Mr. Jones passed by several Cowboys "defenders," none of whom seemed particularly interested in impeding his progress. One does not usually see such plays outside of flag football or 7-on-7 drills, and we're pretty sure the Dallas special teams coaching staff will have a few things to say to their reserves about that one.

Jones' return could be called the difference-maker in Baltimore's 31-29 win, but the Cowboys' inability to capitalize on a series of injuries to Baltimore's defense killed them in the end. The Ravens were without cornerbacks Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith for parts of the game, and linebacker Ray Lewis suffered a triceps injury. Dallas held the ball for over 40 minutes, gained 227 yards on the ground (the most allowed by the Ravens franchise since its inception in 1996), and allowed 481 total yards.

But in the end, a failed two-point conversion from Tony Romo to Dez Bryant late in the game, and an errant field goal try by Dallas kicker Dan Bailey with five minutes left in the game kept the Cowboys on the wrong side of the win column. Bryant, whose erratic play has marred his career to date, caught 13 passes on 15 targets for 95 yards and two touchdowns.

"They threw a lot of haymakers at us," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "Our guys stepped up at the end and found a way to win the game."

As for Baltimore's special teams, nice job forecasting the future.

[Also: Is this the wildest touchdown in NFL history?]

"We're confident that all the good blocks we're getting and all the good setups that we're getting are going to pay dividends as we go down the road," Rosburg said.

Next stop, Vegas.

Fantasy football advice on Yahoo! Sports:

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Orioles look to next year after sensational season (Yahoo! Sports)

13 Oct
BALTIMORE (AP) -- The Orioles made baseball relevant in Baltimore again, shedding the stigma of 14 consecutive losing seasons with a wildly successful run that vastly exceeded all realistic expectations.
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ALDS Game 5: Yankees punch ticket to ALCS with 3-1 victory over Orioles

12 Oct

Score and situation: The New York Yankees finally fought off and eliminated the resilient Baltimore Orioles with a 3-1 win on Friday. The Orioles stayed on the Yankees' heels throughout the regular season in the AL East race and pushed them to the limit in the postseason, but New York ultimately prevailed in the decisive Game 5.

Leading lads: Much like Justin Verlander on Thursday, CC Sabathia was at his best when the Yankees needed it most. Sabathia was untouchable for the first seven innings, allowing only one hit. He did allow one run in the eighth, but wiggled out of a bases loaded situation to preserve the lead, and then pitched a perfect ninth for the complete game victory.

Curtis Granderson entered the game 1-for-16 in the series, but stepped up with a monster home run into the second deck and a single. That's great news for the Yankees and could be an encouraging sign for the ALCS as Granderson is more than capable of carrying their offense through a series if he continues heating up.

Head hangers: For all of the talk about Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher struggling for the Yankees, Baltimore's Adam Jones was just as unproductive. Jones, who inked a six-year, $85.5 million contract during the season, finished the series 2-for-23 and had no walks, runs or RBIs.

J.J. Hardy (.136) and Mark Reynolds (.158) also contributed little for Baltimore in the LDS, and that was punctuated by failures to come through against Sabathia in the eighth inning.

Key play: Nate McLouth's rocket down the right field line may have nicked the foul pole. The immediate ruling on the field was foul, and that call was upheld by an inconclusive replay.

Mark Teixeira delivered the Yankees' first hit with a single leading off the fifth. He then immediately stole second base after the Orioles regrettably neglected to hold him on. That put him in scoring position for Raul Ibanez's RBI single that gave New York a 1-0 lead. Any of those three plays would be a great choice from the Yankees' perspective.

Interesting stat: The Orioles .187 team average is the lowest by a team in the ALDS since the Boston Red Sox hit .158 in 2009. The Red Sox were swept by the Los Angeles Angels.

What they'll be talking about: Did it really nick the foul pole? That's the question Orioles fans will be asking for a long time. I agree with 'Duk when he says there was not enough indisputable evidence to overturn the call, but I wonder why the umpires didn't take a longer look at the replay considering the circumstances and the numerous camera angles they were provided for a postseason game. It there was ever a call worth delaying the game a few minutes, that would be it.

The late-arriving crowd and extremely subdued atmosphere in the first few innings already has a lot of people talking.

Also, Baltimore's decision to not hold Teixeira on first base after his single was risky and ultimately proved to be costly. Teixeira was slowed by a calf injury over the final month of the season, but the Orioles should have been more protective of those 90 feet.

What's next: There's no rest for the weary Yankees as they will turn right around and host the Detroit Tigers in Game 1 of the ALCS on Saturday night. Joe Girardi will likely turn to veteran Andy Pettitte as his starter, while Jim Leyland is expected to counter with Doug Fister.

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Hardy, Orioles beat Yankees in 13th, force Game 5 (Yahoo! Sports)

12 Oct

New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez, left, reacts after striking out with two runners on base in the eighth inning of Game 4 of the American League division baseball series aganst the Baltimore Orioles, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in New York. Orioles catcher Matt Wieters, center, umpire Fieldin Culbreth, right, look on. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan)

NEW YORK (AP) -- Just maybe the Baltimore Orioles' remarkable run into October is not so improbable after all.

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Yankees, O’s tied 1-all after 12th in Game 4 (Yahoo! Sports)

11 Oct

Baltimore Orioles' Joe Saunders delivers a pitch during the first inning of Game 4 of the American League division baseball series against the New York Yankees, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in New York. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

NEW YORK (AP) -- Baltimore's bullpen escaped an eighth-inning jam as Alex Rodriguez struck out yet again, Joba Chamberlain was knocked out by Matt Wieters' broken bat and the Orioles and New York Yankees were tied at 1 after 12th Thursday night in Game 4 of their AL division series.

Tags: , , Chamberlain, , Joba, Joba Chamberlain, , , , , , ,
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Saunders to start Game 4 of ALDS for O’s (Yahoo! Sports)

10 Oct

Former Washington Nationals manager Frank Robinson throws out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 3 of the National League division baseball series between the Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Most teams send their next day's starting pitcher to the interview room before a postseason game. The Baltimore Orioles sent two.

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