Injuries hurt worse for the Ravens than the pain of Sunday’s 23-16 upset loss to New England as starting tight end Nick Boyle was lost for the rest of the season.
Widely regarded as a linchpin of Baltimore’s unique run-first offense, Boyle sustained a gruesome left knee injury midway through the third quarter. He was tackled low on a 4-yard reception before New England defenders immediately motioned to the Ravens sideline, a clear sign that the 27-year-old had been seriously injured and needed medical attention. The 2015 fifth-round pick from Delaware was carted off the field and declared out for the remainder of the season by head coach John Harbaugh following the game.
Boyle had missed just one game since the start of the 2017 season when he began establishing himself as one of the best blocking tight ends in the NFL.
“It’s hard to really quantify what Nick does for us as an offense and as a team,” said 2019 Pro Bowl selection Mark Andrews, the only remaining healthy tight end on the active roster. “He’s a person that people gravitate towards. He’s meant a ton to me, and it sucks. It sucks for him; he’s worked so hard to get to where he’s at. Everyone in this locker room loves him to death, and he’s one of the most loved people on this team.”
Boyle wasn’t the only Ravens player to leave Sunday’s game with an injury as starting nose tackle Brandon Williams and slot cornerback Terrell Bonds were added to a growing list of health concerns for Wink Martindale’s defense. Williams sustained an ankle injury early in the first half and didn’t return while Bonds injured his knee on the opening drive of the third quarter.
Harbaugh said the Ravens would have to “wait and see” about the severity of their injuries.
Williams’ injury was a painful development for a defensive line that was already missing five-time Pro Bowl defensive end Calais Campbell (calf) in Week 10. The Ravens allowed 173 yards on 39 carries against a New England offense that has struggled mightily in the passing game this season.
“There isn’t an excuse. Whoever is in the game needs to play to a standard,” outside linebacker Matthew Judon said. “When we let up that many rushing yards from a team, that’s unacceptable. We’re going to get on film and get it fixed. If a team runs the ball like that, you usually lose.”
Bonds’ exit pressed 37-year-old newcomer Tramon Williams into action as the Ravens were already without veteran cornerback Jimmy Smith, who sat out Sunday’s game with an ankle injury. Baltimore currently has four cornerbacks on injured reserve: Tavon Young (knee), Iman Marshall (knee), Anthony Averett (shoulder), and Khalil Dorsey (shoulder).
Veteran inside linebacker L.J. Fort also missed his second straight game with a finger injury.