There is a cost to playing quarterback against the Ravens, and it can be measured not only by mistakes forced but also by hits delivered, plays disrupted and bodily harm inflicted. One of the hardest jobs in football might also be one of the most hazardous.

On Monday, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy was the latest to absorb the full force of the Ravens’ defense. He did not hold up well. The NFL’s most efficient quarterback went 18-for-32 for 255 yards and had a career-worst four interceptions before leaving midway through the fourth quarter with a stinger, an injury to a nerve in the neck. Purdy’s final play of the 33-19 loss lasted just over three seconds and ended without a pass thrown, his head whipped back to the Levi’s Stadium grass on a sack by outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney.

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Kyle Van Noy (50) celebrates after sacking Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) during the third quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023. (Kylie Cooper/The Baltimore Banner)

Purdy was cleared to return and spoke to reporters afterward, but the damage had been done. Again. As the Ravens roll to a potential No. 1 seed in the AFC, they have left in their wake a staggering toll of quarterback injuries. “We talk with our pads,” Ravens defenders like to say, and often those messages are not warmly received.

“We play a brand of football that people don’t want to play,” inside linebacker Patrick Queen said Monday. “Everybody wants to be out here cute, playing basketball on grass and stuff, and we ain’t with all that. You can do all that stuff; we’re just going to hit you in the mouth every play, honestly. We couldn’t care less about all the pretty stuff you do, gimmick stuff. You still got to line up and play football. You still got to get touched, so that’s our mindset. That’s how we want to come out, and just hit people in the mouth.”

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Or the shoulder. Or the wrist. Or wherever, really. The Ravens are largely indiscriminate in their treatment of opposing quarterbacks. They have taken down enough this season — they enter their Week 17 showdown against the Miami Dolphins with an NFL-high 54 sacks — to understand that few in the league are built to withstand repeated body blows.

Of the 14 different starting quarterbacks the Ravens have faced this season, six have required midgame or postgame treatment of some kind. The punishment the defense has doled out is as varied as it is extensive. In some cases, it’s transformed seasons.

“We just try to play the game the right way,” cornerback Brandon Stephens said Monday. “We never want to see anybody go out. But we just try to play physical, man, play in and play out. Make the other team be the one to tap out, not us.”

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Roquan Smith celebrates the sack of Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud in the fourth quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on Sept. 10, 2023. (Kirk McKoy/The Baltinore Banner)

Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa is next up. Despite his history of concussions, Tagovailoa has started all 15 games for the Dolphins this season, avoiding trouble with one of the NFL’s quickest triggers and an improved understanding of how to fall when he is hit.

The Ravens will test him, both mentally and physically. The more quarterbacks struggle with one, the more they tend to struggle with the other.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

“We’re just tenacious,” Madubuike said. “We’re hungry. We play angry. We play ferocious. We play aggressive. We play violent. That’s just us. I mean, from me to ‘Broddy’ [defensive lineman Broderick Washington] to [defensive lineman] Mike [Pierce] to [outside linebacker] Odafe [Oweh] to J.D. [outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney] to [outside linebacker Kyle] Van Noy, ‘Urb’ [defensive lineman Brent Urban], everybody’s just hungry. Everybody just loves to play with each other. And when you bring those hungry dogs together, it’s like a big pack, man. It’s hard to stop, as you can see.”

Jonas Shaffer is a Ravens beat writer for The Baltimore Banner. He previously covered the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun. Shaffer graduated from the University of Maryland and grew up in Silver Spring. 

More From The Banner