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Defense improves on 'chunk' plays but worsens

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Defense improves on 'chunk' plays but worsens

The focus early in the season was on "chunk" plays, and even though the Ravens have stamped out most of them the defense has gotten worse.

They gave up too many gains of 20 yards or more, nine alone in losing to the Philadelphia Eagles 24-23 in Week 2, to start the season. Since a 9-6 win at the Kansas City Chiefs on Oct. 7, the Ravens' new problem is rushing yards allowed.

Unfortunately for the Ravens, they'll be facing Darren McFadden (Raiders), Ryan Mathews (Chargers) and Jonathan Dwyer (Steelers)  immediately after the bye. And there's also Ahmad Bradshaw (Giants) and Alfred Morris (Redskins) to contend with, too.

All have big-play capability and can grind out a Ravens defense that appears to be wilting. Dwyer had been invisible most of the season until he rumbled for 122 yards for the Steelers last week.

Against the Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans, the Ravens only gave up eight total "chunk" plays.

But the Ravens couldn't stop them and get their offense back on the field. The Chiefs totaled 214 yards rushing, the Cowboys posted 227, a franchise record allowed by the Ravens, and the Texans 181 last week.

The Ravens were allowing 94.5 yards rushing per game after four weeks which was 13th-best in the NFL -- not far off the 92.6 yards they allowed in 2011 with Terrell Suggs and Jarret Johnson in the lineup.

They'd kept Eagles running back LeSean McCoy to 81 yards on 25 carries, but they were just 23rd in overall defense because of the "chunk" plays mostly allowed in the secondary.

Now the run defense is ranked 27th against the run, allowing 142.9 yards and it is 26th overall.

So that the Ravens' offense is last in the NFL at time of possession at 26:06 shouldn't be a surprise.




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Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

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USA Today Sports

Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

On Wednesday, February 14, a horrific school shooting claimed the lives of 17 innocent people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. 

The tragic event impacted people far and wide, and hit especially close to home for Ravens running back Alex Collins.

The former Arkansas star was born in Plantation, Fla., a suburb of Fort Lauderdale and went to high school just 15 miles south of Douglas High School. 

In the offseason, Collins took Irish dancing lessons to improve his footwork, and following the act of terror, the Ravens' tailback learned that one of his dance partners had been killed in the mass shooting.

17-year-old Cara Loughran attended The Drake school of Irish Dance with Collins in addition to two other Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and was fatally shot by the gunman on Wednesday afternoon. 

Collins took to his Twitter account to issue this heartfelt message.

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“The school shooting yesterday hit home,” Collins wrote.

“We received confirmation a few hours ago we lost one of the girls, Cara Loughran. Two other girls saw and experienced unspeakable tragedy. My heart goes out to these girls, all their families and their teacher Chrissy.”

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Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

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USA Today Sports

Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears will launch the NFL's 99th season by playing in the annual Hall of Fame game on Aug. 2.

The Ravens' first appearance in the Hall of Fame game, which launches the league's 2018 Enshrinement Week. Former Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis is among the inductees, along with former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.

Lewis, who played 17 seasons with the Ravens, and Urlacher, who played all of his 13 seasons with Chicago, both were elected on the first ballot.

Lewis joins Jonathan Ogden as the only Ravens in the Hall of Fame. Both were selected by Baltimore in the first round of the 1996 draft.

The other members of the Class of 2018 include Bobby Beathard, Robert Brazile, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. All will be inducted on Saturday, Aug. 4.

This will be the record-tying fifth time that the Bears will play in the Hall of Fame game. They won the previous four, most recently 27-24 over Miami in 2005.

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