BALTIMORE - Earlier in the week, defensive coordinator Dean Pees acknowledged that he's never been part of a team that's dealt with as many significant injuries as the Ravens have this season.
Baltimore's injury list got even longer Sunday.
Wide receiver Torrey Smith and running back Bernard Pierce both sustained concussions, wide receiver Tandon Doss left with an ankle injury and outside linebacker Albert McClellan suffered a hamstring injury, although he was able to play through it.
The Ravens have been without 15 starters - or players with significant starting experience - at some point this season as a result of an injury.
Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda (ankle), safety Bernard Pollard (chest/ribs) and middle linebackers Dannell Ellerbe (ankle) and Jameel McClain (neck/back) were inactive Sunday and middle linebacker Ray Lewis (triceps) remained on injured reserve.
Yanda is dealing with a seriously sprained right ankle that he suffered during last week's loss to the Redskins and was in a walking boot as recently as Friday.
Pollard has played through a painful rib injury since Week 2, but aggravated the injury against Washington and wasn't able to practice last week.
McClain was also injured against the Redskins, and Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Friday that McClain's injury is still in the process of being evaluated to determine it's full severity.
With McClain and Ellerbe both out, Baltimore had to start the combination of Brendon Ayanbadejo and Josh Bynes at inside linebacker. The 37-year-old Ayanbadejo is a standout special teams player but started just four games at linebacker during his first nine NFL seasons. Bynes is a second-year player the Ravens signed as an undrafted free agent last year and began the season on Baltimore's practice squad.
Williams and safety Ed Reed are the only two Ravens defenders to start every game this season.
"It's definitely frustrating," cornerback Cary Williams said of the rash of injuries. "I'm not going to lie to you. But the point is that it's the next guy up, and we've got to find a way to win. ... It's unfortunate for us that we've been bombarded with injuries, but those guys are tough. They'll fight through those injuries and try their best to play next week. We need 'em. We need everybody."
LOSING SKID: With Sunday's loss to the Broncos, the Ravens have dropped three straight games after beginning the season 9-2.
They clinched a playoff berth Sunday - as a result of the Steelers' overtime loss to the Cowboys - but they now lead the Bengals (8-6) by just one game for first place in the AFC North.
Baltimore plays the Bengals in Cincinnati in its regular season finale two weeks from now. If the Ravens lose to the Giants next week and the Bengals beat Pittsburgh, that game will determine the AFC North champion.
LOSING MARGIN: The Ravens' 34-17 loss to Denver Sunday represents Baltimore's most lopsided home defeat since Dec. 9, 2007 when the team suffered a 44-20 loss to Peyton Manning and the Colts during the season that preceded John Harbaugh taking over as head coach.
Prior to Sunday, each of Baltimore's six home losses under Harbaugh had come by a margin of four points or less. The Ravens had won 23 of their previous 25 home games.
BOLDIN CATCHLESS: Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin was held without a catch Sunday, the first time that's happened since Boldin's third season with the Cardinals in 2005.
Boldin entered the game as Baltimore's leader in both catches (58) and receiving yards (828).
Prior to Sunday, Boldin had recorded at least one catch in 106 consecutive games, which, at the time, represented the fifth-longest active streak in the NFL.
RICE ECLIPSES 1,000: Baltimore running back Ray Rice was limited to just 38 yards on 12 carries Sunday, but passed the 1,000-yard mark for the season with a 3-yard run late in the second quarter.
Rice has 1,031 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground this year.
He's rushed for at least 1,000 yards each of the last four seasons.