Coach John Harbaugh has to shuffle the deck on defense again as the Ravens won’t have linebacker Dannell Ellerbe for Sunday’s game with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Ellerbe, who has been playing with casts on this thumbs most of the season, went down with a foot and ankle injury in the second quarter of last week’s 16-13 win at the San Diego Chargers as he dropped in pass coverage. He wasn’t touched on the play and played just 27 snaps.
Brendon Ayanbadejo, noted as a special-teams ace, filled in nicely in taking 24 snaps in Ellerbe’s place.
Ellerbe’s injury is the latest in a long line of them for the Ravens, who have been without Ray Lewis (triceps) since Oct. 14 and also have had key defensive lineman miss games from tackles Haloti Ngata, Ma’ake Kemoeatu and Terrence Cody, end Pernell McPhee and Lardarius Webb (knee surgery), Jimmy Smith (groin surgery) and Chris Johnson in the secondary.
Johnson, who was picked up as a free agent going into the Ravens’ Nov. 18 game at the Steelers, hurt his hamstring in that game after playing just six snaps in the nickel package and missed his second game in a row. He forced the first turnover on his first play with the Ravens on a tackle of Mike Wallace to set up the first score. They came from behind to win 13-10.
Tight end Ed Dickson (knee), who went down against San Diego and was barely able to walk normally as he didn’t practice all week, missed his first game of the season.
Also inactive were left guard Ramon Harewood, receiver-returner Deonte Thompson, cornerback Jimmy Smith (groin surgery) and defensive tackle Bryan Hall.
Defensive end Pernell McPhee, who missed four games in a row with a knee injury, was activated.