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Offenses fizzle in Ravens-Broncos matchup

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Offenses fizzle in Ravens-Broncos matchup

Two Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks squared off on Sunday in Denver, and the result was an absolute dud offensively.

How bad was it? The only touchdown passes thrown by Denver's Peyton Manning and the Ravens' Joe Flacco went to the wrong team, and both teams had serious offensive shortcomings exposed in the Ravens' 19-13, season-opening loss.

Manning finished 24-of-40 for 175 yards, and he looked every bit of his 39 years. Manning was sacked four times, and his arm strength looked suspect. He rarely took a shot downfield, and when he did, he was badly off the mark more than once. For the first time since 2003, Manning did not throw a touchdown in the season-opener -- except for the 24-yard interception return by Jimmy Smith.

That proved to be the Ravens' only touchdown, because Flacco proved to be less effective than Manning. Flacco finished 18-for-32 for 117 yards, the fifth-lowest total of his 113 regular-season games. His rating of 38.2 was his lowest since 2011.

"It was an ugly one. It wasn't too fun to be a part of," Flacco said. 

"We got a lot to work on obviously... We're a lot better than that."

Without injured rookie Breshad Perriman, the Ravens had no deep threat, and receivers struggled all day to get separation, which was a concern throughout training camp. 

Steve Smith caught two passes on the team's opening possession but did not have another catch all day. A potential go-ahead touchdown bounced off his fingertips in the final minute. Marlon Brown finished as the team's top receiver -- with 25 yards on two catches. 

Flacco was sacked twice, hit nine times and harassed throughout by the Broncos pass rush led by DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller. The Ravens lost starting left tackle Eugene Monroe to an early concussion, and the fact that the Ravens couldn't get much going on the ground (23 carries, 73 yards overall, 11-for-28 in the first half) compounded the problem.

"We got to be able to spread them out a little more, and just not let them pin their ears back and come after us," Flacco said. 

Denver coach Gary Kubiak said, "It might have been the greatest defensive football game I've ever been a part of as a coach, on both sides of the ball."

That's one way to look at it. The other is that just one week into the season, both of these teams are staring at major offensive issues. 

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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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