Baltimore Ravens

Ravens overcome vicious hit on Joe Flacco to destroy Dolphins

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Ravens overcome vicious hit on Joe Flacco to destroy Dolphins

BOX SCORE

BALTIMORE -- Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was dazed and bleeding as he was helped off the field.

Diagnosed with a concussion after absorbing a late hit by Miami linebacker Kiko Alonso late in the second quarter, Flacco was taken to the locker room and did not return.

Fortunately for the Ravens, they didn't need him in a 40-0 rout of the Dolphins on Thursday night.

Alex Collins ran for a career-high 113 yards, and Baltimore (4-4) returned two interceptions for touchdowns in the most lopsided shutout in franchise history.

In the midst of one of his best performances of the season, Flacco was hit high by Alonso while sliding at the end of an impromptu run. Flacco's helmet flew off his head, and the 10-year quarterback appeared wobbly as he struggled to his feet.

Alonso was flagged for unnecessary roughness, providing Baltimore with a first down that ultimately turned into a touchdown.

Flacco was initially placed in concussion protocol, and by halftime was ruled out.

"Joe had a concussion and a cut ear," coach John Harbaugh said. "They were stitching it up without any anesthesia, so he's a tough dude. That's as much as I know."

Flacco went 10 for 15 for 101 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin.

After losing four of five to fall under .500 for the first time this season, the Ravens put it all together with a showing that included a 63-yard interception return by C.J. Mosley and a 50-yard pick-six by Jimmy Smith.

"We coached a lot better, obviously. And we played a lot better," Harbaugh said. "It was just a much better game for us."

The Dolphins (4-3) came in with a three-game winning streak after rallying from 17- and 14-point deficits in the previous two weeks. There would be no comeback in this one, not against a swarming Baltimore defense that limited Miami to 196 yards.

Matt Moore was making his first start of the season, for an injured Jay Cutler. Four days earlier, Moore engineered a victory over the Jets after Cutler left with fractured ribs.

In this one, Moore completed 25 of 44 passes for 176 yards. He was sacked three times, and both his interceptions turned into scores for Baltimore.

"This is tough. These are hard ones," Moore said. "You don't ever go into a week preparing and expect it to turn out like this. I don't know what to say right now. It's just tough, tough. We got to figure some stuff out. I got to figure some stuff out."

Moore received little backing from the running game, which generated only 45 yards against the 32nd-ranked rushing defense in the NFL.

"It was inept. We're not doing anything," Miami coach Adam Gase said.

Baltimore went up 7-0 when Maclin slipped behind Bobby McCain and Nate Allen to haul in Flacco's perfect pass on the right sideline.

Justin Tucker added field goals of 55 and 48 yards in the second quarter. After Cody Parkey missed from 50 yards for the Dolphins -- his first misfire in nine tries this season -- Flacco began the drive that would end in the end zone without him.

The late hit by Alonso gave Baltimore a first down at the Miami 5. Three plays later, Ryan Mallett threw a 2-yard TD pass to Benjamin Watson.

Mosley iced it with 14:15 left when he snared a poor throw by Moore near the line of scrimmage and turned it into his first career interception return for a touchdown.

As the Ravens were closing in on another score, a few players exchanged shoves and punches before Chris Moore pounced on a fumble in the end zone.

Overseeing an offense focused on protecting a sizable lead, Mallett went 3 for 7 for 20 yards.

Cat nap
A cat ran onto the field in the fourth quarter, providing some amusement after the game had lost all suspense.

The feline reached the Miami sideline and skipped around a bit before running out of sight.

Injuries
Dolphins: Allen hurt his calf in the second quarter and did not return.

Ravens: TE Vince Mayle was placed in concussion protocol in the second quarter. ... LT Ronnie Stanley hurt his shoulder in the third quarter but returned to action.

Up next
Dolphins: Miami plays the second of three straight night games, this one at home against Oakland on Nov. 5.

Ravens: Baltimore faces Tennessee on the road on Nov. 5, the first meeting between the teams since 2014.

NFL Notes: Odell Beckham Jr. (ankle) dealing with 3-4 week injury

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NFL Notes: Odell Beckham Jr. (ankle) dealing with 3-4 week injury

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has practiced on a limited basis for the first time since spraining his left ankle more than three weeks ago.

The three-time Pro Bowler took two steps in his recovery on Thursday. He took part in some individualized drills and followed that by participating in some team drills in preparation for Monday night's home opener against the Detroit Lions.

Beckham believes he is making progress, but he said his injury has a recovery time that could last two months, or even longer. He is pushing to get back on the field as soon as possible. He moved better than he did last week.

Beckham had not practiced since spraining his ankle in a preseason game on Aug. 21. He started stretching with his teammates during warmups last week, and took the next step on Thursday.

The three-time Pro Bowler was inactive for the Giants' 19-3 loss to the Cowboys on Sunday night, a game in which the offense was limited to 233 yards.

Ravens: Place RB Danny Woodhead on IR
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Ravens placed running back Danny Woodhead on injured reserve with a hamstring injury Thursday.

Woodhead injured his left leg in the first quarter of the season opener and did not return. He missed part of training camp with a hamstring injury to the same leg.

Coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday that the 32-year-old would miss "multiple weeks" and would be a candidate to return later in the season. He would be eligible to play again as soon as Week 11.

Woodhead signed a three-year contract with Baltimore in March after playing for the New York Jets, New England and San Diego. He played in only two games for the Chargers last season before suffering a season-ending knee injury.

The Ravens promoted running back Jeremy Langford from the practice squad to replace Woodhead on the active roster.

Patriots: Concussions "come with the physical nature of the game," says Brady
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady says in a television interview that he doesn't worry about concussions and considers them part of playing football.

In an interview with CBS Sunday Morning, Brady says: "I'm not oblivious to them. I mean, I understand the risks that, you know, come with the physical nature of our game."

Brady's wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, had said in an interview with the show in May that the quarterback has had concussions that weren't reported. Brady denied it, and a joint NFL and players union investigation found no evidence that the team failed to follow the league's policies.

The interview with Brady is scheduled to be broadcast this Sunday.

Fantasy football: Be cautious with this week's top waiver pickups

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Fantasy football: Be cautious with this week's top waiver pickups

The person who has the top waiver priority in your fantasy football league will likely be using it this week on Kerwynn Williams.

Let them.

Williams is the hot name on the waiver wire after the long-term injury to Cardinals running back David Johnson. Johnson is expected to miss 3 to 4 months, opening up tons of carries in Arizona's backfield.

But there is literally no comparison between Johnson and Williams. Johnson is an elite running back with vision, patience, speed, amazing hands and a knack for converting at the goal line. It's not like Williams is going to come in and be this 150-total-yards-per-game player. He might not even get the bulk of carries.

Keep in mind that Andre Ellington is still in that Cardinals backfield, and he actually outsnapped Williams in Week 1. The Cards have also brought back veteran RB Chris Johnson, who has experience in that offense.

In terms of running backs, I'd go for Chris Thompson or Shane Vereen well before I'd go for a Cardinals back, especially in PPR leagues. Thompson and Vereen are both available in 83 percent of Yahoo leagues. 

Thompson had four catches for 52 yards and a TD in the opener and has a consistent role in Washington's offense.

Vereen didn't have a carry for the Giants but caught 9 passes for 52 yards. In a Giants offense with a skittish Eli Manning, there could be plenty of similar games in his future.

Here's a quick overview of the popular waiver wire players this week and whether you should go all-in on one of them.

Ravens D/ST
To me, the top pickup of the week is not a skill player, it's the Ravens' defense. Somehow, Baltimore's defense is available in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues. 

After pitching a shutout of the Bengals in Week 1, the Ravens get the Browns at home in Week 2. 

Home-field advantage might not mean a ton in today's NFL, but it has meant a lot for the Ravens' defense in recent years. Last season, Baltimore allowed an average of 14.8 points at home. (That includes the 26 points the Eagles hung on them in Week 15.)

The last time the Ravens hosted the Browns, they won 28-7, forced three turnovers and had four sacks. That translates to right around 15 fantasy points.

But it's not just the Ravens' Week 2 matchup that makes them, in my mind, the most impactful pickup this week. In Week 3, they face the turnover-prone Jaguars, who just lost their top wide receiver, Allen Robinson, to an ACL tear. 

Looking ahead, there might not be a single better defense to have in the fantasy playoffs. In Week 15, semifinal week, the Ravens play the Browns again. In Week 16, they get the Colts, who at that point might have shut Andrew Luck down for the season given how much of a trainwreck they could be by midseason.

Look, if you have massive holes on your roster, maybe a skill player makes more sense for you this week. But if your choices are picking up Cooper Kupp or Williams just to keep them on the bench, why not pick up a starter? The Ravens' defense is a starter in fantasyland.

WR Cooper Kupp (Rams)
There's a lot to like about Kupp, especially in PPR leagues. He caught 4 of 5 targets for 76 yards and a TD in his NFL debut after a preseason full of hype.

But be cautious with guys like this. If you have a Pierre Garcon, a Golden Tate, a Randall Cobb, even a Cole Beasley ... are you really going to confidently start Kupp ahead of them most weeks? If the answer is no, then he's not worth $30 out of your $100 free-agent purse. 

Kupp is definitely a player worth picking up in leagues that start three wide receivers in addition to a flex. But if you're in a 2-WR league, it's just hard to imagine there being too many weeks where he's a clearly better option than what you have on the bench or what is readily available in free agency.

RB Tarik Cohen (Bears)
Cohen turned heads in Week 1 with 113 total yards, eight receptions and a receiving TD. His exciting game will make him an exciting pickup for some owners this week.

Just keep in mind that despite his impressive debut, Cohen received just 42 percent of the Bears' snaps. Jordan Howard was on the field for 57 percent. Howard has not been supplanted.

The more important point, though, is that the Bears' next six games are against good to very good teams — at Bucs, vs. Steelers, at Packers, vs. Vikings, at Ravens, vs. Panthers. They figure to face larger deficits in those games than they did in the Week 1 nailbiter with Atlanta, and unless Cohen becomes a Mark Ingram-like checkdown machine, his presence might not be as important the next month and a half.

Cohen isn't going to be targeted 12 times in the passing game every week. He's obviously worth a pickup if you have Howard or even if you have an extra bench spot, but don't automatically throw him into the lineup this week.

RB Buck Allen (Ravens)
I'd prioritize Allen over both Williams and Cohen. Danny Woodhead is expected to miss 6 to 8 weeks with his hamstring injury, and Terrance West is barely ever on the field on third downs, meaning Allen will have a consistent role in an offense that utilizes short passes. Allen also carried the ball 21 times in Week 1.

Allen was an intriguing running back two years ago when Justin Forsett went down for Baltimore, and he is again just that with Woodhead hurt and Kenneth Dixon not currently in the picture.

WR Nelson Agholor (Eagles)
Same points with Agholor as with Kupp. My big thing with fantasy pickups is: Will you ever confidently start this player? Remember Kevin Ogletree several years ago after his explosive Week 1?

To me, Agholor is not even worth wasting your spot in the waiver order. Not unless he does this two or three weeks in a row.

WR Kenny Golladay (Lions)
This is a wide receiver worth using an early claim on. Golladay was a preseason darling who turned in two TDs in Week 1 and appears to already have a rapport with Matthew Stafford. 

Golladay was the clear No. 3 wide receiver for Detroit in terms of snaps, behind Golden Tate and Marvin Jones. But at the very least, he's shown he can be an impact player even if he's third in the pecking order. He could be this year's Jamison Crowder.

Under the radar options
Here are some guys that you might not even need to use a waiver claim on. Just wait for waivers to pass and you could probably have one of them for free, without losing free-agent bucks or your spot in the waiver order:

• Jets WR Jermaine Kearse: 9 targets, 7 catches, 59 yards in his first game with a Jets team that badly needs someone to throw the ball to.

• Seahawks WR Paul Richardson: Clearly ahead of Tyler Lockett in Week 1, Richardson caught 4 passes for 59 yards and played 41 of 49 offensive snaps, just two fewer than Doug Baldwin.