The Baltimore Ravens lost one of the league’s best defensive players for the rest of the season in their opener, while the offense looked anything but elite.
A road game against the potentially depleted Oakland Raiders on Sunday might provide at least a temporary solution to their woes.
Baltimore won’t have Terrell Suggs due to a torn Achilles he suffered in a 19-13 loss to Denver last weekend. He’s expected to undergo surgery for the injury.
"You can never replace a Terrell Suggs," linebacker Elvis Dumervil said. ”He’s a big emotional leader for our team."
Suggs, a six-time Pro Bowl linebacker, had 12 sacks in 2014 and formed the league’s most disruptive duo with Dumervil, who had a franchise-record 17. The Ravens signed veteran linebacker Jason Babin on Wednesday to try to fill the void.
Babin played for the New York Jets in 2014 and had just two sacks in 16 games – four starts.
"Guys get hurt. You have to plug guys in," coach John Harbaugh said. "It’s the nature of the NFL."
Baltimore’s offense is looking to improve quickly after gaining a league-low 173 yards last week and failing to score a touchdown. The Ravens’ lone TD came via Jimmy Smith’s 24-yard interception return in the third quarter.
Joe Flacco was intercepted twice and went 18 of 32 for 117 yards, posting one of his lowest passer ratings at 38.2. Justin Forsett and Javorius Allen totaled 73 yards on 23 carries.
"I’m very confident we can (get going) because of the temperament we have, the talent we have and the coaches we have," Harbaugh told the team’s official website. "That’s what you do. You go to work."
Left tackle Eugene Monroe was forced to leave on the first drive due to a concussion and was replaced by James Hurst. Monroe’s status is uncertain, but second-year running back Lorenzo Taliaferro might come back from a knee injury that kept him out of the opener.
The Ravens will face the worst scoring defense in the league from 2014 as they try to avoid their first 0-2 start since 2005. Oakland gave up an average of 28.2 points last season and allowed Cincinnati to do all of its scoring in the first three quarters in a 33-13 loss Sunday.
"Bottom line is we expected to do better," coach Jack Del Rio said. ”Whether you do better or not, this is a day you kind of acknowledge what went wrong or acknowledge what went right. You make your corrections. You learn from the experience you had and then you go forward."
The Raiders also gave up 396 yards in Del Rio’s Oakland debut and lost three defensive starters to injuries, including Charles Woodson.
The safety has a dislocated shoulder and is uncertain for Sunday. Defensive back Nate Allen was placed on the injured reserve/designated to return list because of an ailing knee. Allen isn’t eligible to play until Nov. 15.
Defensive tackle Justin Ellis is optimistic he can return from a left ankle injury he suffered in the first quarter Sunday. Oakland signed defensive lineman C.J. Wilson and safety Taylor Mays as insurance.
Quarterback Derek Carr expects to be back on the field after suffering a bruised right hand that caused him to leave last Sunday’s game. He was hurt trying to stiff-arm the Bengals’ Adam Jones during an 8-yard run in the second quarter, but Carr practiced fully on Friday and is listed as probable.
"I took, I think 99 percent of the reps (Friday). The one percent I didn’t was just to be cautious, and just to see how I’d react," he said. "It’s all fine, I felt good."
Carr, who started all 16 games as a rookie, was 7 of 12 for 61 yards before exiting. Matt McGloin went 23 of 31 for 142 yards in his place and had a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to Marcel Reese.
The Ravens are 7-1 all-time against the Raiders, including playoffs.They’ve won the past four meetings with Flacco starting the last three. He had 341 yards and three TDs in the most recent, a 55-20 victory Nov. 11, 2012.