Heap will miss two to four weeks with a sprained right ankle, and Sanders is nursing a strained hamstring that makes him questionable for Sunday’s game.
A two-time Pro Bowl tight end, Heap will miss his first game since 2001, his rookie season. Sanders, one of the premier cornerbacks in NFL history, is coming off just his second game since ending a three-year retirement.
Heap led the Ravens in receptions in each of the past two seasons and has a team-high 12 catches this year. The injury occurred Sunday late in the second quarter of the Ravens’ 30-13 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“It’s huge,” Ravens coach Billick said. “He’s your No. 1 target, your No. 1 receiver.”
Sanders hopes to play Sunday, though it may be prudent for the 37-year-old former All-Pro to rest.
“I’m feeling pretty good,” he said before Wednesday’s practice. “I’m not a gambling man, but I’m going to try to do my best to be there for my teammates.”
Sanders left late in the first half Sunday with a hamstring injury and did not return. He participated in eight plays, seven of them as a nickel back. He returned a punt for 23 yards, but was penalized 15 yards for removing his helmet on the field.
Ravens left tackle Jonathan Ogden made his return Sunday and helped the Ravens amass 172 yards rushing. Ogden, who missed the opener with a knee injury, is still working his way back to being 100 percent.
Cincinnati bounced back from a loss in its opener to beat the Miami Dolphins 16-13 on Sunday night.
The Bengals offense failed to reach the end zone, their defense blew a late lead and their special teams gave up a pivotal return. But Shayne Graham completed the Bengals’ comeback with a 39-yard field goal with 2 seconds left.
“In the time I’ve been here, you can definitely see a change,” Bengals third-year tight end Matt Schobel said. “Guys were saying, ‘You know what? It hasn’t been our best day, but let’s go win this thing.”’
Carson Palmer led his first game-winning drive, going 7-of-8 for 53 yards. He didn’t have to do anything spectacular—five of his throws were low-risk passes to Schobel.
Changing the team’s mind-set has been a priority for coach Marvin Lewis, who watched it crumble under pressure during his first season. He has remade the roster and preached the importance of not letting one bad play snowball.
“If you sit there and dwell on it, you’re not going to make the next play,” Lewis said. “That’s the underlying thing all the time. You’ve got to move on. We don’t want to let what happened a play ago cloud the next play. I think our guys have some resiliency.”
The defense certainly showed resiliency. After getting pushed around by the New York Jets in a season-opening loss, the defense limited the Dolphins to 25 yards rushing and kept constant pressure on their quarterback.
Blog Coverage from SB Nation
Adrian Hamilton LB, D.J. Bryant LB, Aaron Mellette WR, Kelechi Osemele G, Brandon Stokley WR, Brynden Trawick S, Dallas Clark TE, Joe Flacco QB, Albert McClellan LB, Ray Rice RB, Elvis Dumervil LB, Asa Jackson CB