OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens are now down seven starters, including three former Pro Bowlers, as they enter the final stretch of the season.
They are among 17 players on Injured Reserve.
Nonetheless, the Ravens are 8-4 and are in first place in the AFC North. They control their playoff destiny and are prepared to compete with the players available to them.
"I’ve been through this enough. I mean everybody in their life … You sit here, and you’re a football coach; these are football problems," Harbaugh said. "People out there face a lot tougher challenges. I’ll say a lot of times that football is a metaphor for life. It’s kind of not … It’s our life, but it’s not life – it’s a metaphor for life.
"Sometimes, I think we can take things from it, like these games that rundown to the wire … As Al Pacino said, [and] I kind of talked about it, ‘An inch here. An inch there. A second too early. A second too late,’ it is exactly right. That is like a classic truth about football and as a metaphor for life."
Cornerback Marlon Humphrey was the latest player to go on IR after tearing a pectoral muscle in loss to the Steelers in Week 13. Humphrey was injured trying to tackle Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson on the go-ahead 5-yard touchdown with 1:48 to play.
Marcus Peters, the Ravens' other starting cornerback, was lost for the season with a knee injury in training camp. Starting safety DeShon Elliott is out for the year with a pectoral/biceps injury he suffered last month.
Baltimore also lost all three of its running backs — J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill — before the season even began. Starting left tackle Ronnie Standley is out indefinitely with an ankle injury.
Another starter, defensive end Derek Wolfe, has not played a snap this regular season because of hip and back injuries.
"We have really good players who can step in and play. We’ll be ready to go,” Harbaugh said.
The Ravens have already pulled off some uncanny wins this season. There was an NFL-record, 66-yard game-winning field goal by Justin Tucker against the Detroit Lions.
Baltimore has also come back from four double-digit deficits in the fourth quarter to win games.
Perhaps, there are more miracles left.
It starts Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, a team the Ravens beat 16-10 two weeks ago.
"You know, if you can take some of these things and look at them for what they are and say, ‘Oh, that’s interesting,’ in terms of do I perceive it in a bigger way, like the ball … Like the miracle in Detroit, what does that say? It’s incredible," Harbaugh said. "Oh, well we didn’t have the miracle against Pittsburgh. What does that mean?’ What does it mean? It means it didn’t happen. So, what’s next? … There’s an old story that [asks], ‘Who is going to go?’ ‘Send me, I’ll go.’ Don’t we all have to make that choice in life? Are you going to go? Or are you not going to go? Kind of ‘woe is me’ to your question, [but] I’m going to go. I know you guys all in your lives feel the same way; you’re going to go.
"So, we’re going to go, man. We’re going to go. We can’t wait. We’ll be going to Cleveland, I promise you.”