Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey, a team leader and one of the NFL’s top defensive backs, will miss the rest of the season after tearing a pectoral muscle in Sunday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, coach John Harbaugh announced Monday.
Humphrey appeared to injure his upper body while trying to prevent Pittsburgh wide receiver Diontae Johnson from diving into the end zone on a 5-yard touchdown pass with 1:48 left in the fourth quarter. He underwent an MRI after the game to determine the extent of his injury.
While Humphrey has struggled at times this year — he allowed a passer rating of 95.6 in coverage, according to Pro Football Reference, and forced just two turnovers in 12 games — he was an every-down presence on coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale’s defense. According to CBS Sports, he entered Week 13 leading the NFL in incompletions caused among primary defenders (39).
“Prefer to have him, for sure,” Harbaugh said. “But we’ll go with the guys we got. We have really good players that can step in and play, and we’ll be ready to go.”
With Humphrey out, the Ravens will have to make their playoff push over their final five regular-season games without their top two cornerbacks. Marcus Peters, who received All-Pro honors along with Humphrey in 2019, tore his ACL during a preseason practice in early September. Like Humphrey, Peters had never missed more than two games in an NFL season before this year. Safety DeShon Elliott also suffered a season-ending biceps and pectoral injury in a Week 9 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
Elsewhere, the Ravens have lost starting running back J.K. Dobbins (knee), starting left tackle Ronnie Stanley (ankle) and starting defensive end Derek Wolfe (back/hip) to season-ending injuries, along with running back Gus Edwards (knee) and inside linebacker L.J. Fort (knee). Humphrey, Peters and Stanley are three of the Ravens’ five highest-paid players and together account for $28.5 million in cap space.
Nose tackle Brandon Williams said after Sunday’s 20-19 loss that the onus would be on the team to absorb another injury.
“We’ve got a lot of injuries,” Williams said. “So we’ve been dealing with stress all season, and we’ve been able to overcome it. So that’s what we plan on doing. … The show must go on. We pray that Marlon makes it back, we pray that everybody who is down right now gets healed up. But we’ve still got games to play. Next week, we’ve got the Browns, and we’ve got to focus on that.”
Anthony Averett, Tavon Young, Jimmy Smith and Chris Westry will now lead the Ravens’ cornerback room as they prepare for a rematch Sunday with the Cleveland Browns. Averett leads the defense in interceptions (two), but he was on the wrong end of a 40-yard completion from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to wide receiver Chase Claypool and a 29-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger to Johnson on back-to-back plays in the fourth quarter. Injuries have also become a nagging presence in recent weeks.
Young has been the team’s top slot cornerback, though he was limited Sunday by illness. Smith (ankle) played 42 snaps Sunday despite not practicing Friday, and Westry, another outside cornerback, was deactivated Sunday because of a thigh injury. Harbaugh said he’s confident that Westry, who hasn’t played since Week 11, and cornerback Kevon Seymour, a special teams contributor who last week tested positive for the coronavirus, would return this week.
“We’ll work through the personnel,” Harbaugh said. “We’ve got guys, and we’ll work through that during the course of the week. Some of it’s who you play, what the matchups are. We’ll figure all that out.”
- Harbaugh said he’d decided early in the Ravens’ final drive to go for a 2-point conversion, which ended with an incompletion from quarterback Lamar Jackson to tight end Mark Andrews. But he hadn’t heard from the NFL regarding an apparent presnap penalty on defensive tackle Montravius Adams. “When a guy’s lined up that far ... in the neutral zone, you certainly expect that to be called,” Harbaugh said.
- Harbaugh said running back Devonta Freeman, who had 14 carries for 52 yards and five catches for 45 yards Sunday, is “doing great. He’s making guys miss. He seems like he’s getting stronger every week. He was strong in the fourth quarter, which was good to see. So he’s done a great job.”
- Asked about rookie wide receiver Rashod Bateman’s quiet game Sunday (no catches on one target and a season-low 33 offensive snaps), Harbaugh said: “I’d like to see everybody more involved. I mean, I think part of it is we like it when a number of guys are targeted. It doesn’t always work out that way. You can’t create that. I think when you start chasing that, that’s when problems happen.”