Ragnow could barely talk. At the time, Daniel thought it was funny; no one knew until the next day how bad Ragnow’s injury was.
At some point in the first quarter, the Lions’ starting center fractured his throat.
“It’s pretty impressive what he was able to do,” Daniel said. “It was the guards relaying the calls to the running backs, and obviously when I came in it was all passes, so that was easy for us to do as quarterbacks while I was making all the calls and relaying it.
“We didn’t really seem to miss a beat, and it’s pretty incredible when your throat is fractured and you’re used to making all the calls.”
Stafford, who injured his ribs during the game, said he knew something was going on with Ragnow. “Pretty crazy that he was able to finish the game with that,” Stafford said.
The veteran quarterback said he had never heard of the injury before, although Indianapolis defensive lineman Henry Anderson suffered a fractured larynx in 2017.
The National Institute of Health says “80 to 90% of laryngeal injuries, fracture/dislocations, and separation usually result from significant high-velocity blunt trauma.” The most common causes are car accidents and sports injuries, and “laryngeal trauma is rare.”
Ragnow did not allow a sack or pressure while playing with a fractured throat. He played every snap the rest of the game.
“Personally, I had no idea,” running backs coach Kyle Caskey said. “… He looked like he was in the middle of a battle, so it looked like just it was one of those games where he was just kind of beat up.
“I didn’t really notice it and didn’t even know it until Monday. He did a good job of hiding it from us, at least, but he kept playing through it.”
Ragnow’s brother, Jack, also had some fun poking at his brother’s injury — while also supporting him for the Pro Bowl. “Eh I’ve seen tougher #ProBowlVote Frank Ragnow,” he tweeted.
Detroit’s options at center without Ragnow are reserve interior lineman Joe Dahl, left guard Jonah Jackson or rookie Logan Stenberg, who hasn’t played a snap all year. Dahl has the most NFL experience at center.
“It was funny at the time. It’s not funny now because it’s a serious injury,” Daniel said. “Dude played the rest of the game, and I don’t know if he gave up a QB hit. It’s impressive. It really is.”