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Ravens backfield in good hands with Allen, West

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Ravens backfield in good hands with Allen, West

As the Ravens running backs were plowing ahead for 4.8 yards a carry on Monday night, it was hard to tell that the Ravens were down to their third- and fourth-string backs.

With Justin Forsett (broken arm) and Lorenzo Taliaferro (foot surgery) out for the season, the Ravens have turned the run game over to rookie Buck Allen and Baltimore native Terrance West, who is on his third team this fall and was promoted from the Ravens practice squad two weeks ago.

And judging by Monday's result, it appears the running game is in good hands with them.

Against the Browns, Allen ran 12 times for 55 yards (4.6 avg.) and West, in his Ravens debut, had 37 yards on seven carries (5.3 avg.). And this was running behind an offensive line that was missing three starters.

"I thought Buck and Terrance West both ran really hard," coach John Harbaugh said after the game Monday night. "They are high and tight with the football, they're getting stripped the whole game, breaking tackles, pushing the pile. I think they both showed they are capable of being top-notch NFL running backs."

Granted, the Browns entered the game with the league's lowest-rated run defense, allowing more than 138 yards a game. This week, the Ravens face a Dolphins team that has overaken the Browns as the worst-rated run defense in the league (138.5 yards allowed per game).

Both Allen and West also contributed in the passing game. Allen caught four passes for 29 yards, including his first career touchdown, and both he and West came up with big blitz pickups in pass protection. 

This could make for a crowded running back picture next fall, assuming Forsett and Taliaferro return healthy, but for now, Allen and West are the next men up, and they are embracing their chance.

Allen on Wednesday gave credit to running backs coach Thomas Hammock, saying he "believes in the guys he has in the room. That’s why we’re in that room. So, I don’t think he ever panicked or was like, ‘What are we going to do?’" after the injuries to Forsett and Taliaferro. 

"He prepared me for this moment during OTAs and during camp," Allen said, "and I knew my time was going to come. When it comes, I’ve just got to take full advantage of it and be ready.”

RELATED: Five early thoughts on Ravens at Dolphins

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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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