The Baltimore Ravens’ struggle to contain a protracted coronavirus outbreak forced their rescheduled game Tuesday night against the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers back to Wednesday.
It’s the third fix for a matchup that was originally supposed to be played on Thanksgiving night.
The NFL announced the most recent move on Monday after the Ravens put starters Matthew Judon, Willie Snead and Mark Andrews on the reserve / COVID-19 list.
While Baltimore also had four players back from that list, it will still fall seriously short when this game is finally played.
The addition of Judon, a standout linebacker, and Andrews, the team’s lead receiver, brings the number of 2019 Pro Bowl players to seven that Baltimore placed on the COVID-19 list in the past week.
Cornerback Terrell Bonds, which is on injured reserve, was also added to the expanded list on Monday.
There was some good news, though: Baltimore activated linebacker Jayson Ferguson, offensive lineman DJ Fluker, and COVID-19 defensive tackle Broderick Washington. Defensive back Iman Marshall was also triggered, though he’s been on IR since ripping his right ACL in August.
The match with two longtime rivals was originally scheduled for Thanksgiving night before an outbreak of coronavirus cases among the Ravens forced the match to be postponed until Sunday. As Baltimore continued to pile up positive tests, the game was moved back to Tuesday night.
Now they may finally meet in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Or not.
The Ravens (6-4) will take on the Steelers without some of their top playmakers, including quarterback Lamar Jackson, running backs Mark Ingram and JK Dobbins, and defensive linemen Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams.
The loss of Andrews and Snead will further hinder backup quarterback Robert Griffin III, who will be snapping third-string center after Patrick Mekari and Matt Skura were placed on the COVID-19 list on Wednesday.
Andrews is type 1 diabetes, which makes COVID-19 potentially more dangerous. His loss should have an impact in leading Baltimore in receptions (38), yards receiving (454), and touchdown catches (6).
Andrews, Judon, Jackson, Ingram, Campbell, fullback Patrick Ricard and long snapper Morgan Cox were all selected for the Pro Bowl last season. Jackson, of course, was the 2019 NFL MVP.
Judon owns the Baltimore franchise tag. He is tied for the team leader with four sacks and has 34 tackles.
Snead has 17 catches for 230 yards and two touchdowns in the past four games.
Last Wednesday’s game of the NFL was the 2012 season opener between the Giants and Cowboys, which was moved from a Thursday night due to a conflict with the Democratic National Convention, for which President Barack Obama was scheduled to speak on Thursday night.
“We understand that every team goes through something like this,” said Cam Heyward, Steelers defensive end. “Not to that extent, but we have to be prepared for any situation. I think (Coach Mike Tomlin) made the plan. It’s up to us to follow it and it’s up to us to jump back with it. “
Added Steelers tackling Zach Banner, who was injured in the season opener: “I’ll be healthy by the time we play this game.”
According to a person with direct knowledge of the switch, the planned week 13 game between the Steelers and Washington at Heinz Field will also be moved to December 7 from Sunday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because that roster shift had not yet been announced.
Baltimore would also host Dallas on December 7.