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Not even Christmas can cease the Baltimore Ravens' injury woes.
Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley, previously expected to start Sunday in a key division game against the Cincinnati Bengals, is headed to the reserve/COVID-19 list, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 25, 2021
Huntley did not practice Friday due to an illness previously reported to not be COVID-19, but something has clearly changed there.
The Ravens later announced Lamar Jackson, who was officially designated as questionable for Sunday with an ankle injury despite having not played or practiced in two weeks, will not travel with the team to Cincinnati, leaving third-string quarterback Josh Johnson to start.
Johnson, who signed with the team on Dec. 15, may have indicated something was afoot shortly before the news broke.
— Josh Johnson (@Head8cke) December 25, 2021
Johnson has not started an NFL game since 2018. Before signing with the Ravens, he appeared in three games with the New York Jets, completing 29 of 45 passes for 334 passing yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
The Ravens later signed Kenji Bahar, an undrafted quarterback out of Monmouth, to serve as Johnson's backup for the game, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.
Ravens receive yet another blow before must-win game
In a season in which the Ravens have 17 players on injured reserve and 14 players on their injury report, should it be any surprise they might to have to start Johnson in their most important game of the season?
The Ravens are currently tied with the Bengals atop the AFC North at 8-6, with the 7-6-1 Pittsburgh Steelers and 7-7 Cleveland Browns both within a game of the two. Not only would a win give the Ravens first place in the division, it would even the tiebreaker with the Bengals after a one-sided loss earlier this year. A loss could potentially mean last place.
Starting Huntley wouldn't have been ideal for a team used to playing a healthy Jackson, but he drew strong reviews last week when he nearly led a comeback win against the Green Bay Packers. Now, the Ravens once again have to scramble. At least they have practice.