Patriots

Ravens continue climb in AFC playoff standings with 44-20 thumping of Lions

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Ravens continue climb in AFC playoff standings with 44-20 thumping of Lions

BALTIMORE -- Joe Flacco threw for 269 yards and two touchdowns, and the Baltimore Ravens survived a strong comeback bid by Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions in a 44-20 victory Sunday.

After relying heavily on their opportunistic defense for much of the season, the Ravens (7-5) finally received an ample contribution from the league's 31st-ranked offense. As a result, Baltimore is in the middle of the AFC wild-card race.

Flacco helped Baltimore take a 20-0 halftime lead and directed three scoring drives in the fourth quarter to keep the Ravens in front.

Flacco completed 23 of 36 passes while guiding an offense that did not commit a turnover.

Stafford completed a team-record 20 straight passes in the second half, twice getting the Lions within a touchdown. But Detroit (6-6) lost a second straight following a three-game winning streak.

Stafford left late in the fourth quarter with a right hand injury. He went 24 for 29 for 292 yards.

The Ravens came in with three shutouts and an NFL-best 26 takeaways.

They forced three more turnovers, all of them pivotal: A strip-sack of Stafford by Eric Weddle led to a touchdown in the second quarter; a fourth-quarter interception set up a game-clinching TD run by Alex Collins with four minutes to go; and a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown by Weddle against Jake Rudock with 2:26 remaining.

Baltimore's third straight victory came at a price. Standout cornerback Jimmy Smith left with an Achilles tendon injury and is likely lost for the season.

Smith went down without being touched in the second quarter, was helped off the field and ruled out after being examined in the locker room.

Smith has been bothered by a sore Achilles for much of the season. The seven-year veteran has missed several practices, but started all 12 games and is second on the team with three interceptions.

He was replaced by rookie Marlon Humphrey, Baltimore's top draft choice. Humphrey intercepted Stafford in the fourth quarter.

PRATER PULLS IT

Detroit kicker Matt Prater missed a 43-yard field goal in the second quarter and was wide left on a conversion kick after Detroit's second TD.

INJURIES

Lions: Former Ravens DT Rick Wagner (ankle) was carted off the field in the second quarter and did not return. ... DE Ezekiel Ansah left with an ankle injury and returned. ... G T.J. Lang was sidelined with a foot injury and returned. .... DE Cornelius Washington left in the third quarter with a shoulder injury.

Ravens: Smith has battled injuries throughout his career. Only twice has he played 16 games in a season. ... LB C.J. Mosley underwent concussion protocol early in the second quarter and was quickly cleared.

UP NEXT

Lions: At Tampa Bay on Sunday.

Ravens: Sunday night showdown against AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers, who beat Baltimore 26-9 in the first meeting.

David Harris retires after 11 seasons with Jets, Patriots

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File Photo

David Harris retires after 11 seasons with Jets, Patriots

David Harris's 11-year run in the NFL has come to an end. 

On Friday, the linebacker announced his retirement from the game of football after spending 10 seasons with the Jets and one with the Patriots. 

The Jets drafted Harris with the 47th pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. In his rookie season, he racked up 5 sacks and 127 total tackles. His breakout rookie season was an clear indication of the solid player he would become over the course of his career. 

Although he neither won a Super Bowl, nor made it to a Pro Bowl, the linebacker served as a focal point on a Rex Ryan defense that appeared in two AFC Championships in 2010 and 2011. 

When he was released in 2017, the 34-year-old made a career choice to sign with the Patriots to compete for a Super Bowl.

He didn't go out a champion, but a trip to the Super Bowl was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for one of the most underrated linebackers of the past decade. 

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What was Odell Beckham Jr. telling Kyrie Irving?

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AP Photo

What was Odell Beckham Jr. telling Kyrie Irving?

Admittedly, the audio is poor but the idea is no less intriguing.

Was Odell Beckham Jr. telling Kyrie Irving at NBA All-Star Weekend that he's trying to go to the Patriots? Or to Boston? Or New England? 

It's 23 seconds into the video below: 

Isaiah Houde of USA TODAY's PatriotsWire interprets it as: "You went to the Celtics and I’m trying to go to New England."

Beckham has had a few Instagram posts about Brady recently, including an exchange of rap lyrics back in December. 

🐐chasin.

A post shared by Odell Beckham Jr (@obj) on

Unless there's a trade between the Patriots and Giants, Beckham, 25, the three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, won't be free to join Kyrie in New England - or was it Boston? - until the four-year deal he signed in 2014 ends after this season. Oh, and as he enters that 2019 season, Tom Brady will be 42. 

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