The season from hell continued for the Ravens on Sunday against the Rams.
The Ravens were tied with St. Louis at 13. Late in the 4th quarter with under a minute remaining, the Ravens were driving down the field trying to get in field goal range. Joe Flacco threw a pass to Chris Givens that was broken up. After the play, Flacco was seen hobbling toward the sideline but stayed in the game. Flacco stayed in for the rest of the drive which ended in a game-winning field goal for the Ravens as time expired.
After the game, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh announced that Flacco had suffered a torn ACL and MCL. The injury occurred when Flacco threw the pass to Givens. Looking at the reply, Ravens tackle James Hurst had been pushed back into Flacco and Hurst fell on Flacco’s knees. Flacco will miss the remainder of the 2015 season, and potentially the start of the 2016 season due to the 9-12 month recovery time for an ACL injury. The torn MCL certainly does not help Flacco’s cause, either.
Earlier in the same game, running back Justin Forsett suffered two broken bones in his right forearm, ending his season.
The injuries are just the latest blows to a Ravens team that has already has a long list of season-ending injuries to several key players. The team has also lost wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. and linebacker Terrell Suggs to torn Achilles’ tendons, center Jeremy Zuttah to a torn pectoral muscle, tight end Dennis Pitta to hip complications and running back Lorenzo Taliaferro to a foot injury. The Ravens 2015 first round wide receiver Breshad Perriman has also missed the entire season with a partially torn PCL and will not see the field until next season.
The injury to Flacco is especially devastating to the Ravens because Flacco is of course the quarterback and the leader of the Ravens offense, but even more devastating due to the fact that he has been so durable over his entire career. Since Flacco was drafted in 2008, he has never missed a start. His streak of 122 straight games started is the fifth longest streak in NFL history. His only previous NFL injury was a minor MCL injury suffered late in the 2013 season, and he did not miss a start even with the injury. Now, his streak will come to an end and the Ravens will find out what life without Flacco is like.
The Ravens certainly were not going anywhere, but this injury could linger into the 2016 season. With the 9-12 month recovery time Flacco will certainly miss the entire offseason program next year and could possibly miss the start of the 2016 regular season. Even when Flacco comes back, it may still be awhile before he looks like himself. It can take months from a player coming back from an ACL tear to return to form due to mobility restrictions and cramping in the muscle. Sure, guys like Carson Palmer have bounced back quickly from ACL tears, but then you have guys like Sam Bradford who have struggled. It’s all up in the air right now for Joe.
So to Joe, and the rest of the fallen Ravens, I wish you a very speedy recovery. It has certainly been hard to watch the Ravens this year, and injuries have been a huge part. It seems that with every game comes another punch to the gut. I do not know how long this awful funk the Ravens are in will last, but my sights are already set on 2016. The 20th anniversary of the Ravens is supposed to be a year of celebration, but it certainly does not feel like there’s anything worth celebrating right now.