Lewis goes down with ankle injury
Guard’s X-rays are negative; Ducasse fills in for Yanda, makes first start of season
The Ravens’ rotating offensive line figures to be in more flux next week.
A unit that featured its sixth different starting configuration in Thursday night’s game against the Cleveland Browns and played without five-time Pro Bowl selection right guard Marshal Yanda lost rookie left guard Alex Lewis with 9:36 left in the third quarter.
Lewis, a fourth-round pick, appeared to suffer a serious injury to his right ankle after quarterback Joe Flacco’s 4-yard touchdown pass to tight end Darren Waller. A Cleveland player thrown to the ground by center Jeremy Zuttah crashed into Lewis’ ankle.
Trainers placed Lewis’ ankle into an air cast. As he was carted off the field, he raised his right thumb and implored the crowd to get louder to support the team. The team later reported that X-rays to Lewis’ ankle were negative, but Lewis did not return to the game.
John Urschel, who had started three consecutive games at left guard while Lewis filled in for rookie Ronnie Stanley (foot) at left tackle earlier this season, replaced Lewis at left guard.
Yanda’s absence was filled by Vladimir Ducasse, who made his first start of the season.
Through the first half, the unit helped the offense gain 14 first downs to Cleveland’s seven and earn a six-minute advantage in time of possession. But Lewis missed blocking outside linebacker Jamie Collins Sr., who sacked Flacco in the first quarter, and Ducasse was flagged for holding late in the second quarter.
Although it was Ducasse’s first start with the team, it was the 23rd of his career. His previous start was Jan. 3 as a member of the Chicago Bears. Ravens defense vs. rookie quarterback: The defense has a history of making life miserable for rookie quarterbacks, but after a slow start, the Browns’ Cody Kessler appeared to find his footing. Through the first half, Kessler had completed 10 of 16 passes for 94 yards, including a series in which he connected on four of four throws for 42 yards and a 25-yard touchdown lob to tight end Seth DeValve.
But after Flacco’s touchdown pass to Ravens guard Alex Lewis get carted off the field after being injured with 9:36 left in the third quarter. A Cleveland player thrown to the ground by center Jeremy Zuttah crashed into Lewis’ ankle. Lewis did not return to the game. Waller to open the third quarter, Cleveland benched Kessler for Josh McCown.
The Ravens defense has enjoyed success against other rookie quarterbacks, winning eight of the past 11 meetings, including the past four. Only the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Blaine Gabbert in 2011, the Washington Redskins’ combination of Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins in 2012, and the Buffalo Bills’ EJ Manuel emerged with victories against the Ravens in their rookie seasons. Firsts for Webb, Waller, Z. Smith: Lardarius Webb’s sack of Kessler in the first quarter was the free safety’s third of his career and first in five years. Webb’s last sack occurred on Nov. 24, 2011, when he and former defensive end Cory Redding shared a sack of Alex Smith in a16-6 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
Waller’s touchdown catch was the first of the second-year pro’s career. The converted wide receiver caught two passes for 14 yards after entering the game with two receptions for 17 yards.
Outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith made his first sack of the season when he took down McCown in the third quarter for a 9-yard loss. It was his first sack since Jan. 3, when he split a sack with defensive end Lawrence Guy in a 24-16 loss at the Cincinnati Bengals. Individual marks for S. Smith, Tucker: With an 11-yard touchdown catch with 2:05 left in the third quarter, wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. passed former Indianapolis Colt Reggie Wayne for the eighth-most receiving yards in NFL history. Smith now has 14,349 career yards.
Smith has 997 catches and needs just three more to become the 14th player in league history to reach the 1,000-reception mark.
With a 25-yard field goal with10:29 left in the second quarter, kicker Justin Tucker eclipsed 600 points for his career.
Tucker, who is 22-of-22 on field goals, and the Indianapolis Colts’ Adam Vinatieri are the only kickers who have not missed a field goal this season. End zone: In addition to Yanda and Ryan Jensen, the Ravens deactivated outside linebackers Elvis Dumervil (foot) and rookie Kamalei Correa (thigh), tight end Crockett Gillmore (hamstring), rookie defensive tackle Willie Henry, and cornerback Shareece Wright (pulled hamstring). … The Browns played without starting cornerback Jamar Taylor (groin). He did not practice during the week. Playing in his place, rookie Briean Boddy-Calhoun intercepted a pass from Flacco intended for wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. just outside of Cleveland’s end zone to kill a promising Ravens drive. … The team also scratched quarterback Joe Callahan, right guard Jonathan Cooper, defensive end Xavier Cooper, center Gabe Ikard, outside linebacker Corey Lemonier and rookie wide receiver Jordan Payton. … The Ravens announced the return of quarterback David Fales to the practice squad. Fales had been waived Tuesday. To make room, the team released tight end Mitchell Henry.