By Aaron Wilson
1:59 AM EDT, September 6, 2013
It was a costly game for the Ravens' offense and special teams Thusday night, sustaining damaging losses in terms of injuries as two key players left the game nursing ailments.
First, Pro Bowl kick returner Jacoby Jones sprained his knee in the second quarter; he didn't return.
Jones indicated he'll undergo a magnetic resonance imaging exam Friday.
"I don't know," Jones said when asked how long he thinks he'll be sidelined. "I got to find out."
On a punt return, Ravens rookie safety Brynden Trawick with his head down in his first NFL game, barreled into Jones as he signaled for a fair catch. Both players were shaken up on the play and left the field slowly.
"I didn't see it," Jones said. "I had my eyes on the ball."
"I just didn't see him," Trawick said. "It was bad on my part. There's not much I can say, for real."
Once Jones got to the sideline, his knee was immediately examined by team doctor Leigh-Ann Curl.
Later in the quarter, starting right offensive tackle Michael Oher sprained his ankle; he didn't return, either. Oher was replaced at right tackle by rookie Rick Wagner, a fifth-round draft pick from Wisconsin.
Wagner allowed a sack in the third quarter by Broncos outside linebacker Shaun Phillips.
The Ravens are now precariously thin along the offensive line. The only other active offensive lineman was backup center A.Q. Shipley, with guard Jah Reid a healthy scratch.
Oher didn't appear to be seriously hurt and was able to limp off the field under his own power and wasn't in a walking boot or crutches afterward.
"I have to see how the next couple of days go," Oher said. "Hopefully, I'll be all right, though."
Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach makes his living plowing into linebackers and creating paths for running backs Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce.
Although Leach's main assignment was running interference, in the first quarter he scored a rare touchdown, the first of the 2013 NFL season.
Leach secured a 2-yard pass in the right corner of the end zone for a touchdown to give the Ravens a 7-0 lead.
It marked his first touchdown catch since joining the Ravens three years ago and was the fifth scoring catch of his career.
The 6-foot, 260-pound player hadn't caught a touchdown pass since the 2009 season, when he was with the Houston Texans.
M. Brown starts
The dramatic rise of undrafted rookie wide receiver Marlon Brown continues to unfold.
After an impressive preseason in which he beat the odds to make the team, the 6-5, 205-pound former Georgia player got the start Thursday night ahead of veterans Jacoby Jones and Brandon Stokley.
Brown started opposite wide receiver Torrey Smith, the former Maryland standout who's now the Ravens' top downfield target after Anquan Boldin was traded to the San Francisco 49ers in the offseason amid a contract dispute.
Brown isn't yet a full year removed from tearing his anterior cruciate ligament and is still making progress as he regains explosiveness.
He caught a 13-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, finishing the game with four catches for 65 yards.
Reid, Simon scratches
The Ravens didn't have any surprise inactives Thursday night.
Their healthy scratches included Reid; rookie offensive lineman Wagner was active instead as a swing tackle-guard. Rookie outside linebacker John Simon and wide receiver Aaron Mellette were also healthy scratches.
Starting tight end Ed Dickson (right hamstring) and backup rush linebacker Pernell McPhee (knee) were both active despite having missed a significant amount of the preseason.
Dickson displayed signs of rust as he failed to secure a pass from Joe Flacco that hit him in the hands in the second quarter as the Broncos secondary closed in on him.
The Ravens also deactivated defensive tackle Brandon Williams (toe), defensive lineman Arthur Jones (illness) and center Ryan Jensen (foot surgery).
Trawick and Anthony Levine were active and used primarily on special teams.
The Broncos scratched 12-time Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey (foot), defensive back Quentin Jammer, tight end Joel Dreessen, offensive guard John Moffitt, offensive guard Chris Kuper, running back C.J. Anderson and quarterback Zac Dysert.
Trouble piles up in Denver
The Broncos' off-field turmoil continues to mount.
During a rocky offseason, scouting executives Matt Russell and Tom Heckert were charged with driving under the influence. Star linebacker Von Miller was suspended for the first six games for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.
Then, starting tight end Julius Thomas was arrested last week after he failed to appear in Arapahoe County Court for a traffic offense, according to Denver media reports.
Thomas, 25, was charged with failing to yield to an emergency vehicle in January and didn't show up for a March court hearing in the misdemeanor case, leading to the bench warrant.
The Broncos let Thomas start the game, allowing him to play as the legal process unfolds.
“We were notified of the issue involving Julius Thomas when it occurred on Aug.28,” the Broncos said in a statement. “It was addressed internally and is being resolved.”
The Ravens' game captains were former Broncos outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil, who left the team in March after a bizarre fax debacle, and Stokley as well as rush linebacker Terrell Suggs, Flacco and strong safety James Ihedigbo.