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Flacco engineers well-oiled machine to record 55 points

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Flacco engineers well-oiled machine to record 55 points

Make no mistake, the Ravens were supposed to trample the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.

Just not this badly.

How they did it by a 55-20 margin was astounding en route to their NFL-high 15th consecutive regular season win at M&T Bank Stadium.

Joe Flacco threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns as the Ravens (7-2) scored 27 of their points in the first half, more than they could muster in four quarters of any of their four road games this season.

Going to play at the Pittsburgh Steelers for an AFC North game next Sunday, the challenge will be to replicate the magic at M&T where the Ravens average 37 points -- 20 points more than they score away.

“I honestly don’t think about it too much because it’s just happened to work out that way,” Flacco said when asked about his team’s inability to duplicate a performance such as this away from home. “They put up our record on the scoreboard today at home since ’08 and we have five losses. … We’ve played some big games on the road a couple years, every year we’ve been here, and we’ve won a lot of them.”

Sunday’s points are a franchise-high as Flacco posted his first 300-yard game passing since Week 4. It also is the most in the NFL this season, eclipsing 52 scored by the New England Patriots.

The result was secure early for Baltimore when Ray Rice, who only ran for 35 yards, punched in a 7-yard touchdown just before the intermission.

In the third quarter, Flacco would find Torrey Smith for touchdown passes of 47 and 20 yards on consecutive drives and holder/punter Sam Koch would run in a fake field goal for a 7-yard score. The Raiders (3-6) aided the effort by committing 10 penalties for 105 yards and three turnovers.

“For most of the game, we felt like we were in it, but things came apart in the third quarter,” Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer said. “They kept scoring and we couldn’t keep up. With all the penalties and mental errors we had, there’s no way we’re going to beat a playoff team on their field.”

Jacoby Jones piled it on with a 105-yard kickoff for his second touchdown on special teams this season. He had a 108-yard return in the 31-29 win against the Dallas Cowboys.

The Ravens’ defense was playing without cornerback Jimmy Smith, who was a late scratch because of a lingering groin strain. Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata dressed but didn’t play, either.

Still, the Ravens’ struggling run defense didn’t have to contend with Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson, both out with high ankle sprains.  Oakland only gained 72 yards on 24 carries for a 3.0 average.

During a three-game stretch, the Ravens were allowing 207 yards per game on the ground going into last week’s 25-15 win at the Cleveland Browns. There, they allowed 116. The line deflected six passes from Palmer.

This was a complete game for the Ravens, who started out well against the Browns with a 14-point lead but went without a first down in the second and third quarters, as all three phases made significant contributions for the victory.

Flacco even found tight end Dennis Pitta, who hasn't been a factor in the offense since Week 3, for a 5-yard touchdown pass that gave the Ravens a 17-3 lead.

"They definitely looked like they put an emphasis on trying to get to us a little bit, and we were able to get the ball out of our hands quickly," Flacco said. "And we had some good calls for those situations."

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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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