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Ravens report card: Offense revving up in win over Steelers

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Ravens report card: Offense revving up in win over Steelers

It’s time to hand out the report card after the Ravens’ 23-20 overtime win on Thursday night at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. We begin with the offense:

QUARTERBACK: B-

Joe Flacco wasn’t great, completing 20 of 33 passes for 189 yards and one touchdown. He threw one interception, a poor throw that could have been a pick-six were it not for great hustle by tackle Rick Wagner. Flacco also lost a fumble as he tried to scramble on the first play of the second half and he had a shotgun snap go right through his hands. But give him credit: Flacco somehow engineered another victory at Heinz Field, this time despite playing the fourth quaerter and overtime without Steve Smith and then also without Michael Campanaro. And the Ravens were already missing starting tight end Crockett Gillmore. So with a hodge-podge cast that included rookie receiver Darren Waller and two rookie tight ends, Flacco kept the offense moving. His touchdown throw to Kamar Aiken was beautiful.

RUNNING BACKS: A-

The Ravens have been waiting for this kind of game. Justin Forsett ran 27 times for 150 yards – surpassing his total in the first three games combined – and the Ravens finished with 191 yards on the ground (4.9 avg.). The Ravens were better than they have been lately in short-yardage, though rookie Buck Allen (5-19) couldn’t convert on third-and-1. Forsett and Allen combined for 21 rushing yards on the Ravens’ game-winning drive. With the receivers banged up the Ravens leaned more heavily on the run game and it delivered.

OFFENSIVE LINE: B+

The line opened up some huge holes for Justin Forsett, and John Harbaugh specifically praised the job center Jeremy Zuttah did. Flacco did face heavy pressure at times and was sacked five times. Short-yardage rushing was improved, but the Ravens couldn’t get enough push for Flacco to convert a quarterback sneak on 4th-and-1. The line, though, committed no penalties, and extra credit goes to tackle Rick Wagner, who chased down Ross Cockrell after his interception and prevented a pick-six. That proved to be huge, as the ensuing Steelers drive ended with no points.

TIGHT ENDS: B-

Rookies Nick Boyle (three catches, 12 yards) and Max Williams (2-17) both saw extensive action with Crockett Gillmore sidelined. The Raven had no qualms about going to Boyle, either. He gained 7 yards on fourth-and-1 on the final play of the third quarter, extending a drive that ended in a field goal, and it was Boyle who caught the fake field-goal pass from Sam Koch, though he was stopped for a 3-yard loss. But with the Raves shorthanded at wide receiver after injuries to Steve Smith and Michael Campanaro, the tight ends, especially Williams, could have been a bigger part of the offense.

WIDE RECEIVER: C+

Steve Smith (4-24) was held in check and then had to leave with a lower back injury. Michael Campanaro had two catches for 16 yards and also scored on a nifty 9-yard end-around, but he, too, left with a back injury. That left Kamar Aiken, Marlon Brown and rookie Darren Waller as the lone options for much of crunch time for the Ravens. Aiken had five catches for 77 yards and a touchdown, and his leaping 20-yard catch set up the field goal that forced overtime. Brown (2-9) just can’t consistently get open, and Waller made one catch for 17 yards.

MORE RAVENS: Campanaro injured, seen in wheelchair after Steelers game

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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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