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Flacco finally breaks out on road

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Flacco finally breaks out on road

Ray Rice made the play of the game, perhaps of the season, by converting a 4th-and-29 in the fourth quarter.

That play overshadowed a silver lining for the Ravens: Joe Flacco delivered on the road in a major way for the first time this season.

Flacco had his best game away from M&T Bank Stadium, bringing back the Ravens from 10 points down to win 16-13 in overtime at the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.

Flacco went 30-for-51 for 355 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions.

“Not one guy said anything about, ‘You know what, good game fellas. It’s over.’ There was not one chirp about that,” Rice said of the mood on the sideline. “That showed a lot about our guys.

“We firmly believed that we were going to get that first down no matter what. … You can sense when … they (take) the life out of you. Not this team. This team, we got a will to win. It’s not pretty but we’re sitting at 9-2.”

Flacco hadn’t thrown for more than 232 yards in five other road games and had more interceptions (4) than touchdowns (3) away from M&T Bank Stadium entering the game. He was averaging just 176.6 yards passing per game.

It looked like more of the same for the Ravens as Flacco struggled against the Chargers’ No. 8-ranked defense, throwing for just 59 yards in the first half.

Flacco had failed to engineer a touchdown drive in last week’s 13-10 win at the Pittsburgh Steelers. He couldn’t score one in the first three quarters in San Diego.

Then a 54-yard catch-and-run by Torrey Smith set up the Ravens’ first points on a 43-yard field goal by Justin Tucker. And in the fourth quarter Flacco found Dennis Pitta from 4 yards out to trim the deficit to 13-10 with 4:23 left in regulation.

“It was a great play call and I was able to get 1-on-1 coverage over the middle  and … Joe threw the perfect ball. I could get it and the defender couldn’t,” said Pitta, who had 6 catches for 42 yards a week after going out of a game early with a concussion. “That touchdown was important to get us going and back in that game.”

The 25th-ranked Ravens defense was able to force the Chargers off the field in three plays on their next possession so Flacco could work his magic with 3:09 left.

He led the Ravens on a 11-play, 40-yard drive to end the fourth quarter, including Rice’s game-changing first down catch and run that set up Tucker’s 38-yard kick to tie the score at 13 and force overtime.

Rice finished with 97 yards rushing on 22 carries. He had 8 catches for 67.

The defense contained Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers as he was unable to get his team a score in the extra period. He drove them to midfield on an eight-play drive and then the Ravens’ defense forced a three-and-out series.

That’s when Flacco put together another 11-play drive, finding Smith 31 yards down field to San Diego’s 16, to set up Tucker’s game-winner from 38 yards with just more than one minute left in overtime.

The chemistry between Flacco and Smith is key to the offense's success. When the duo connects, it gets contagious. Smith finished with 7 catches for a game-high 144 yards.

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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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