On the Ravens’ first defensive drive, outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith had already registered a sack, matching his total from last year, and forced another quarterback hurry.
On the Ravens’ first offensive drive, running back Danny Woodhead caught three passes for 33 yards and had one carry for four yards.
But by early in the second quarter, both players were back in the Ravens’ locker room, having been carted off the field. The two potentially significant injuries were downers in an otherwise uplifting 20-0 regular-season opening victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Smith immediately grabbed at his left knee as he was knocked to the ground trying to make a play on Bengals running back Giovani Bernard. He was writhing on the ground in pain and then was helped off the field, unable to put any weight on his left leg.
There was no immediate update on his status, but he’s expected to an MIR to determine the severity of the injury.
Woodhead, the veteran running back who was one of the team’s big free-agent additions, grabbed his left hamstring and then fell to the ground while running a route.
“We'll see,” Woodhead said before leaving the locker room with his left leg wrapped in ice. “It's one of those things ... we'll wait until we get back.”
Woodhead wouldn’t confirm whether it was the same hamstring that knocked him out of a chunk of the preseason.
If he’s out for a significant amount of time — and that’s the initial fear — the Ravens would need to add another running back. They have two, Jeremy Langford and Alex Collins, on the practice squad.
“You saw him at the beginning of the game. When Danny's on a roll, he's a big factor for us, but he took an injury today,” Ravens starting running back Terrance West said. “He'll be back, get the hammy right, and it's going to make our offense better.”
Suggs gives credit to GM: Ravens rush linebacker Terrell Suggs wasn't much interested in basking in the accolades of his two sacks and two turnover-creating plays. However, he did want to give general manager Ozzie Newsome the credit he said he deserves.
Following the defense’s first shutout since November of the 2009 season, Suggs praised the defensive additions of defensive backs Tony Jefferson, who had a team-leading five tackles and a sack, and Brandon Carr, who had two tackles and one of the four Ravens’ interceptions.
He also brought up the contributions of rookie draft picks cornerback Marlon Humphrey and outside linebacker Tyus Bowser. Humphrey was mixed into the game at several points and didn’t allow a completion as defensive coordinator Dean Pees gave either Jimmy Smith or Carr a breather.
Bowser finished with a tackle in his NFL debut.
"It feels good," Bowser said. "I got an opportunity to be part of the team, to play in this game and live out my dream. It was an important game because it was the first game in the division and we wanted to come out and play hard. We were on a mission. I wasn't nervous. When you prepare and you prepare hard, there is nothing to be nervous about. We got a win and it was a good day for me."
Benjamin Button?: Ravens defensive tackle Brandon Williams had an interesting take on the play of Suggs, who turns 35 next month.
“I thought he was 25,” Williams joked. “The dude looked great. Every year, he just keeps getting younger and younger. He has the Benjamin Button disease. I couldn’t ask for a better player to play next to.”
Three 2017 draft picks inactive: Defensive end Chris Wormley and outside linebacker Tim Williams, the Ravens rookie third-round picks, and defensive end Bronson Kaufusi, a third-round pick in 2016, will have to wait at least another week to make their NFL regular-season debuts.
All three players were left inactive for the Ravens’ opener. The other Ravens on the inactive list were rookie fifth-round offensive lineman Jermaine Eluemunor, defensive tackle Willie Henry and cornerbacks Jaylen Hill and Sheldon Price.
Hill, an undrafted rookie out of Jacksonville State, was declared out on Friday because of a hamstring injury. Price was doubtful for the game as he continues to recover from a concussion that he sustained in the team’s preseason finale.
End zone: The Ravens rotated second-year players Kamalei Correa and Patrick Onwuasor at the weak-side linebacker spot. Correa had three tackles, including one for loss, and another tackle on special teams, while Onwuasor didn’t have a tackle, but he had a tipped ball that led to a Carr interception. … With the win, Ravens coach John Harbaugh improved to 7-3 in regular-season openers. … The shutout was the Ravens’ 11th in team history. It was the first time in franchise history the Ravens had five sacks and four interceptions in a game. … Bengals first-round wide receiver John Ross (knee) was inactive because of a knee injury.
Sun columnist Mike Preston contributed to this story