Baltimore Ravens running backs continue to fall this season like coloured leaves in a windstorm.
The latest is Latavius Murray, whose sprained left ankle will keep him from playing Sunday against visiting Cincinnati, in the game to decide this week’s leader of the AFC North.
Murray had started the past three games for the Ravens, who haven’t lost since Week 1, in overtime at Las Vegas.
It looks as though another veteran hastily signed since early September, Devonta Freeman, will get his first start. He would be backed up by Le’Veon Bell and Ty’Son Williams.
Murray is the fourth running back of note the Ravens have lost since training camp began, even if Murray is out for only this week. The others: J.K. Dobbins (torn ACL), Gus Edwards (torn ACL) and Justice Hill (torn Achilles).
Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh on Friday expressed his confidence in Freeman, who played his first six NFL seasons in Atlanta before playing in five games last year with the New York Giants.
“His style, he’s had it for quite a while,” Harbaugh said. “He’s a downhill, explosive, accelerating-type runner with some size. He has some power to him, and that’s it. He’s good.”
WILSON BACK IN WEEK 10?
NFL Network reported Saturday morning that Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson this coming week will have a stabilizing pin removed from the injured middle finger of his right throwing hand.
The pin was surgically inserted a day after he suffered a nasty sprain in Week 5.
Wilson and the Seahawks are hoping he can return for Seattle’s road game at Green Bay in Week 10, the network said.
PRESSURE MOUNTS ON BRONCOS
That glow from that 3-0 start is long gone now. The Denver Broncos have lost four straight, and now even their once-stout defence is letting them down.
That’s the specialty of head coach Vic Fangio. It rightfully pained him to see the Cleveland Browns on Thursday, time and again, blow through his defence on the ground, even without their top two running backs, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
“It’s humbling,” Fangio said.
Indianapolis downgraded receiver T.Y. Hilton (quad injury) to out, but activated all-pro guard Quenton Nelson from IR, presumably meaning he’ll play at San Francisco …. Buffalo tight end Dawson Knox is expected to return from a broken hand “in about three weeks,” NFL Network reported.
FIVE BIG QUESTIONS
- How thoroughly does Matthew Stafford shred the Lions? Don’t get it wrong. The Rams QB has no animosity toward the Lions or Detroit. But you know he wants to dominate.
- How many points do the Chiefs and Titans run up? Eighty combined? At least, probably. Great weather, atrocious defences, dangerous offences.
- Are we all under-selling the Bengals? Hey, if they knock off the Ravens they not only would be tied atop the AFC North with Baltimore, but tied for the best record in the AFC, at 5-2.
- Does Tua Tagovailo have time to change the narrative? The second-year Dolphins QB lost to the Jaguars in his first game back. This week his team reportedly re-intensified trade talks with Houston, for Deshaun Watson. Coincidence? Not likely. Tagovailo had better sparkle ASAP, or he’s done.
- How limited will Bucs attack be without AB? The only game Tampa Bay has lost in the past 11 months came in September, at the Rams, when WR Antonio Brown was out. And he’s out this week vs. the Bears.
THE BIG NUMBER
Number of NFL-leading rush yards by Tennessee’s Derrick Henry. He’s only the third player in league history with as many as 750 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns in his team’s first six games, after Hall of Famers Jim Brown and Eric Dickerson. With three rush TDs against K.C. he’d join LaDainian Tomlinson as the only NFLers ever with three-plus rush TDs in three straight games.
Trevon Diggs, the Dallas Cowboys’ interception machine on defence, not only leads the league with seven picks so far, but he leads the league in pass breakups with 11, two more than Marshon Lattimore of New Orleans and J.C. Jackson of New England. Diggs’ 142 interception-return yards far and away lead the NFL too; Marcus Williams of New Orleans is second with 56.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“It’s time to step up, make some throws and do some things.”
— Dan Campbell , Lions head coach, on his sputtering QB Jared Goff.