The Baltimore Ravens suffered a bitter end to their season last night. One step shy of the Super Bowl, with a chance to beat their arch-rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers stopped their fourth quarter comeback short. In essence, the game was over when Troy Polamalu ran back a Joe Flacco interception for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. But the Ravens kept trying anyway, and in one play lost their last chance to come back – and lost Willis McGahee to a far worse injury.
As the Ravens tried to drive late in the game, McGahee caught a pass from Flacco, but was laid out by the Steelers’ Ryan Clark in a hit where their helmets collided. The hit forced a fumble, which the Steelers recovered to pretty much end the game. But before the Steelers could start celebrating, the mood was brought down when McGahee and Clark didn’t get up.
Clark’s injury was far less serious, as he got back up after a minute. But the McGahee injury was far, far worse as he couldn’t get up. The game was halted for several minute as McGahee had to be carted off Heinz Field for his injury.
McGahee was able to move his limbs somewhat while he was down, proving that his injury wasn’t as traumatic as it was feared to be. But things slowed down to a crawl as McGahee lay still from his in injury, and was finally taken off the field.
After the Ravens’s 23-14 loss, attention for the Ravens was mostly on McGahee’s injury, and not their defeat. McGahee was taken to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, and was reported to be “neurologically intact” by doctors. His neck was reported to be in pain, however.
McGahee having an injury is nothing new, as he had been injury prone all season. McGahee even looked to have tweeked his knee during an earlier drive in the fourth quarter. But the severity of how the injury initially looked filled the Ravens with fear.
McGahee had already made an impact on the game by scoring the Ravens’ only two touchdowns, and helping them climb back into the game, until turnovers destroyed them in the fourth quarter. McGahee rushed 20 times for 60 yards overall.
Since McGahee may be able to recover from injury, the Steelers and their fans have a little less guilt in celebrating the hit as the final nail in the coffin of their AFC championship win. The McGahee injury is now also just another chapter in the injury-prone rivalry between the Steelers and the Ravens.
McGahee now has one more injury to try and heal from in the off season, while the Ravens watch their arch-rivals go for a record sixth Super Bowl win in two weeks.
Baltimore Sun- “After big hit, prayers for McGahee” www.baltimoresun.com/sports/football/bal-sp.ravensside19jan19,0,3507114.story
NY Times- “Ravens’ McGahee Injured on Helmet-to-Helmet Hit” www.nytimes.com/2009/01/19/sports/football/19mcgahee.html