The Baltimore Ravens kept their worthless unbeaten preseason streak alive on Saturday with a win over the visiting Washington Commanders. Who cares! The least important thing about a preseason football game is who wins. Indeed, basically nothing that happened during the game part of the game is worthy of even a second of your attention. However! The spectator event held Saturday night at the Ravens' stadium did not entirely fail to deliver anything noteworthy: A halftime exhibition pitting a local youth football team against a group of mascots was brought to a sudden halt when Poe, Baltimore's raven mascot, had to be carted off the field with a leg injury.
The call appeared to be a very poorly executed sweep play, which saw poor Poe swarmed by defenders well behind the line of scrimmage. A player wearing No. 23 appeared to grab Poe around the shoulders and briefly pull onto the fleeing mascot, before relaxing and shoving Poe to the turf. Possibly because Poe gave an anguished death-squawk? Poe immediately grabbed his left knee and—though the gigantic, humanoid raven bravely smiled that same blank-eyed smile through the entire ordeal—it was soon obvious that his writhing was not in any way a bit. Here is a view of the tackle:
Poe returned to the field for the third quarter, raising the question of whether he'd faked the injury to escape the overpowering youth football players, or whether he'd been flayed alive so that a new performer could don a fresh Poe skin-suit and create the illusion of a healthy mascot. I'm not sure which explanation is more disturbing:
As this was the final preseason game, expect the true Poe to miss at least the opening weeks of the regular season. Quoth quarterback Lamar Jackson: