Latavius Murray’s Status Headlines Ravens’ Latest Key Injury Updates

Ravens Latavius Murray

Getty Baltimore Ravens running back Latavius Murray carries the ball against the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Baltimore Ravens will be without at least two key contributors on offense against the Cincinnati Bengals, as wide receiver Sammy Watkins and running back Latavius Murray have both been ruled out for Sunday’s game, per the Ravens’ official injury report.

Murray sprained his ankle during last week’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers, with Watkins sidelined due to a hamstring injury sustained against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 5.

In addition, starting center Bradley Bozeman and starting left tackle Alejandro Villanueva are listed as questionable, though both are expected to play. Bozeman left the Chargers game with a back injury, while Villanueva has played through an ankle injury suffered against the Denver Broncos in Week 4. 

Murray has emerged as the Ravens’ lead back this season after a slew of preseason injuries decimated Baltimore’s backfield. He’s found the end zone four times this season, the most of any Raven, and trails only quarterback Lamar Jackson in rushing yards. His injury is disappointing but not devastating to the Ravens’ ground attack, as Devonta Freeman, Ty’Son Williams, and the recently-promoted Le’Veon Bell are more than capable of picking up the slack.

Watkins’ injury was briefly expected to be a hiccup for the Ravens’ passing game, but rookie Rashod Bateman impressed in his much-anticipated NFL debut, converting first downs on all four of his catches. Despite an initial plan to keep Bateman limited in his return from a preseason groin injury, the 2021 first-round pick played the second-most snaps of any Baltimore wide receiver.

As a result, the Ravens’ offense should continue its red-hot start to the season, even against a vastly-improved Bengals defense, provided Bozeman and Villanueva are able to start. Despite recent additions to the offensive line, Baltimore still remains somewhat thin at left tackle and center.

Bell Time in Baltimore?

With Murray out, it’s unclear who will start at running back for the Ravens. Williams has been a healthy scratch in favor of Bell twice already this season, so it’s unlikely that he dominates carries.

Recent performance suggests that Freeman is in line for the highest uptick in work, as he finished Sunday’s game with almost three times as many rushing yards as Bell with only one more carry.

But Bell’s promotion to the 53-man roster on Tuesday is a sign that the Ravens are committed to playing the former Steeler in the hopes that he can recapture some of the magic from his time in Pittsburgh.

Expect Freeman and Bell to split most of the Ravens’ rushing attempts, with Williams in a minor role for most of the game.

Bateman Aiming to Build off Strong Debut

Rashod Bateman will look to step up in Watkins’ absence for a second consecutive week after he logged four catches for 29 yards against the Chargers.

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He’s already developed a strong connection with Jackson, who raved about the maturity of his shiny new target on Wednesday.

“He had a tremendous day like he had already been in the league. It was like he already had games under his belt even though it was his first game,” said Jackson, per Sarah Ellison.

Ravens fans are already excited at the chemistry between the two, who, along with Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown and Mark Andrews, make up one of NFL’s most dangerous passing attacks this season.