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Injuries cost Ravens dearly in fourth loss of the season

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Injuries cost Ravens dearly in fourth loss of the season

BALTIMORE -- Realistically, what could the Ravens expect?

By the time the Ravens went to overtime against the Browns on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium, they were missing their top receiver, their top draft pick who was expected to be a top receiver, their starting tight end and their top two running backs. On defense, the Ravens were missing both their Pro Bowl pass rushers, their starting defensive end as well as three cornerbacks. They were so thin in the secondary that rookie project Tray Walker was playing nickel back, his first defensive snaps all season.

Is it any wonder, then, that the Ravens couldn’t manage 10 yards for a touchdown at the end of regulation, couldn’t move the ball in overtime, and couldn’t stop the Browns?

The result was a gut-wrenching 33-30 loss that likely dooms the Ravens to also-ran status this season, sending them to 1-4 for the first time in franchise history with two home divisional losses before the leaves have changed.

Every NFL team has injuries, but the rash of injuries has hit the Ravens especially hard. On offense, the Ravens were already playing without top receiver Steve Smith (back) and tight end Crockett Gillmore (calf), not to mention first-round draft pick Breshad Perriman, who has been out all season. To compensate especially for Smith’s absence, the Ravens on Sunday lean heavily on running back Justin Forsett (21-121 rushing, 4-49 receiving).

That plan worked very well in the second half – until Forsett went down after getting his ankle rolled into after a 32-yard gain to the Browns 10-yard line in the final two minutes. Still, down 30-27, the Ravens only needed to gain 10 yards to secure the win.

But the shorthanded offense couldn’t do it. Rookie running back Buck Allen – the only healthy back left after Forsett’s injury sinece Lorenzo Taliaferro (foot) was a game-day inactive with a foot injury – carried twice or a total of 5 yards. On third-and-goal, Joe Flacco threw incomplete for Kamar Aiken, and the Ravens settled for a field goal to force overtime.

In overtime, the Ravens offense got the ball first and went nowhere. Allen ran for no gain, and two incompletions ended the Ravens possession.

But that only put the onus on the Ravens shorthanded defense.

Having already lost Pro Bowl linebacker Terrell Suggs for the season to a torn Achilles earlier this year, the Ravens lost his pass-rushing counterpart, Elvis Dumervil, early on Sunday with a groin injury. He did not play after halftime.

Meanwhile, in the secondary, the Ravens lost backup corner Will Davis to a knee injury and then starter Lardarius Webb to a thigh injury. The Ravens announced Webb was probable to return, but he did not play again. With backup Rashaan Melvin a gameday inactive, that left Kyle Arrington as a starter – until he was shaken up on the Browns’ series on overtime.

Second-year safety Terrence Brooks saw some time at nickel back, but he also was shaken up at one point, putting Walker on the field in crunch time. Before Sunday, Walker had not played a defensive snap all season and was not even active the past two weeks.

So maybe it should come as no surprise that Browns quarterback Josh McCown threw for 457 yards – a Browns franchise record and the third-most ever allowed by the Ravens. Tight end Gary Barnidge did the most damage, with eight catches for 139 yards.

“We didn’t cover the way we needed to,” coach John Harbaugh said. “Whether it was deep, whether it was intermediate, or whether it was short. We didn’t get the job done in coverage.”

Harbaugh and others did not want to use the injuries as any excuse.

“Whoever is out there has to play well,” he said .”Whoever is out there has to get the job done. That’s what has to happen.”

But it didn’t happen Sunday, and that’s why the battered, bruised, stunned Ravens are looking at their worst five-game record in franchise history.

MORE RAVENS: Harbaugh on Browns loss: "It's on us" 

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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.

MORE RAVENS: 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT RAVENS ROUNDUP 3.0

“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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