The Ravens hope the third time will be the charm after the NFL again rescheduled their original Thanksgiving night game against Pittsburgh to Wednesday at 3:40 p.m.
The AFC North tilt was initially moved to Sunday afternoon and then Tuesday night because of Baltimore’s widespread COVID-19 outbreak before it became the first game this season to be postponed three different times on Monday. This will become the first NFL game to be played on a Wednesday since 2012, but the strange afternoon kickoff time is due to the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting ceremony special airing on NBC that evening, another odd wrinkle to add to the most unusual week in Ravens history.
The decision to move the game back another day came after Baltimore players expressed concerns about the outbreak being fully contained as well as their inability to log any meaningful practice and workout time during a week-long absence from the Owings Mills training facility, an understandable health and safety concern. After having a scheduled morning workout postponed while the league awaited virus testing results on Monday, the Ravens were able to convene in the evening for a “safely distanced” walk-through and conditioning session in which players arrived already prepared to work out and did not use the locker room or training room. The Ravens planned to conduct another walk-through on Tuesday before departing for Pittsburgh in the evening.
Monday did mark the ninth consecutive day a Ravens player tested positive for COVID-19, but the individual is on injured reserve and wasn’t in close contact with any other teammates, according to ESPN’s Dan Graziano. In addition to tight end Mark Andrews, outside linebacker Matthew Judon, and wide receiver Willie Snead, injured cornerback Terrell Bonds was officially placed on the reserve-COVID-19 list. The positive tests for Andrews, Judon, and Snead were reported on Sunday.
Monday brought positive news on the activation front as outside linebacker Jaylon Ferguson, offensive lineman D.J. Fluker, defensive tackle Broderick Washington, and cornerback Iman Marshall were removed from the COVID-19 list. Marshall reverted to season-ending injured reserve, but the other three returns left the Ravens with 20 players remaining on the COVID-19 list and more depth at their respective positions.
Rookie guard Tyre Phillips was reinstated to the 53-man roster after being designated to return from IR last week. He suffered an ankle injury in the Week 8 loss to the Steelers.
The other encouraging development for the Ravens was what the latest postponement meant for running backs J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram, who tested positive for the virus on the day of the Week 11 loss to Tennessee and were placed on the COVID-19 list last Monday. Assuming they are no longer experiencing symptoms and are cleared by Baltimore’s medical team, both would exhaust their 10-day quarantine minimum and could return to play against the Steelers. That would certainly be a welcome sight for head coach John Harbaugh and a severely undermanned roster that will be without star quarterback Lamar Jackson and several other starters.
With the Ravens-Steelers game officially being moved to Wednesday afternoon, the league announced Baltimore’s Week 13 meeting with Dallas would be shifted to Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 8:05 p.m. That game was originally scheduled for this Thursday and had been rescheduled for Monday, Dec. 7 before the latest schedule shuffling.