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RG3 hurts knee, but Skins beat Ravens 31-28 in OT

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RG3 hurts knee, but Skins beat Ravens 31-28 in OT

LANDOVER, Md. (AP) This, of course, is the sort of thing everyone associated with - and rooting for - the Washington Redskins worries about: Robert Griffin III limping to the sideline after a knee-spraining hit.

With the Redskins driving while trailing the Baltimore Ravens late in the fourth quarter of a game Washington would wind up winning 31-28 in overtime Sunday, Griffin was slow to rise after being tackled at the end of a 13-yard scramble.

``I screamed. Like a man, of course,'' Griffin said with a laugh, before acknowledging: ``It hurt really bad.''

He left for one play, then returned for four more. But by then, the No. 2 overall pick in this year's NFL draft was hopping on his left leg, keeping all weight off his injured right one. Eventually, Griffin knelt on the turf, unable to continue.

``I knew I needed to get out at that point,'' said last year's Heisman Trophy winner, who had an MRI exam later Sunday that didn't show significant ligament damage. ``I couldn't move. At some point, you have to do what's right for the team. And if I'm playing the rest of that game, I probably would have hurt myself even more.''

Said Redskins coach Mike Shanahan: ``I could see that he was hurting the second time he came out. You could see his face.''

So whatever euphoria the Redskins (7-6) and their fans might have been feeling following a fourth consecutive victory was mixed with concern about the sight of the man they call RG3 hobbling around on the sideline with a thick, black brace on his right knee as Kai Forbath kicked a 34-yard field goal to end the game.

``We're happy that we won, obviously,'' left tackle Trent Williams said. ``But that is concerning, knowing he went down. Everyone wants to know how he's doing.''

About three hours after the game, an answer arrived: Team spokesman Tony Wyllie said the MRI showed that while Griffin sprained his knee, ``everything is clear'' in terms of a major knee injury. Wyllie specifically ruled out a season-ending ACL tear, such as the one Griffin had on the same knee while playing in college at Baylor in 2009.

Still, because a sprained knee, by definition, means at least one of the several ligaments is damaged in some way, it's not clear what Griffin's status for next week at the Cleveland Browns will be.

``Everybody's praying for me. I feel pretty good right now about the whole situation,'' said Griffin, who left a game earlier this season because of a concussion.

With Griffin done for the day, and Baltimore - now 9-4 after its first consecutive losses since early in the 2009 season - leading 28-20, fellow rookie QB Kirk Cousins stepped in. Cousins, a fourth-round pick who only played in one other game this season, threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon with 29 seconds remaining in regulation, then ran a quarterback draw for the tying 2-point conversion.

``He's ice. Like they used to say about Larry Bird, he got ice water in his veins. That's the best thing you can say about Kirk,'' receiver Joshua Morgan said.

Griffin heard the call for Cousin's draw through his headphones while getting treatment on the sideline.

``It was awesome,'' said Griffin, who was 15 for 26 for 246 yards and a touchdown pass, along with 34 yards on seven carries, adding to his single-season record for rushing by a rookie quarterback.

Ravens safety Ed Reed said his defense was ready for that 2-point play, actually, but ``we didn't execute.''

The Ravens got the ball first in overtime but went three-and-out. Yet another Redskins rookie, Richard Crawford, returned the punt 64 yards to set up Forbath, who is now 14 for 14 to start his NFL career; each got a game ball from Shanahan.

While Washington remained one game behind the New York Giants (8-5) in the race for the NFC East title, the Ravens wasted a chance to clinch the AFC North - and even missed out on an opportunity to assure themselves of a playoff berth.

Joe Flacco completed 16 of 21 passes for 182 yards and three first-half TD passes that built a 21-14 lead. But Baltimore's first four drives of the second ended with Flacco's fumble, his interception deep in Washington's territory, and two three-and-outs.

``As a leader on this team I like to finish teams out,'' said Ray Rice, who finished with 121 yards on 20 carries but picked up a left hip pointer. ``I don't want to be known as, `Yeah, we get them close in the fourth quarter, and the Ravens are going to give it away.' That's never been us. That's not going to be us.''

Rice's 7-yard touchdown run with 4:47 to play in the fourth quarter put the Ravens up by eight points, before Griffin started the trying drive - and Cousins finished it.

Forbath's winning kick prompted a wild on-field celebration by many Redskins. Not Griffin, though. He gingerly walked toward the locker room, a brace on his knee, and flashed a thumb's up to raucous spectators in the stands.

Later, around the Redskins announced the results of his good-news MRI, Griffin tweeted: ``Your positive vibes and prayers worked people!!!!''

NOTES: Cousins completed both passes he threw. ... Ravens RG Marshal Yanda sprained his right ankle and was wearing a black walking boot on that foot in the locker room. Other injuries for Baltimore: LB Jameel McClain had a neck injury, but X-rays were negative. ... Washington's 186 yards were the most by any NFL team in the first quarter this season and the most by the franchise in that quarter since 1997. ... The Redskins hadn't won four games in a row since 2008.

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Connect with Howard Fendrich on Twitter athttp://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

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Offensive, defensive and rookie of the year awards for Ravens' 2017 season

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USA Today Sports

Offensive, defensive and rookie of the year awards for Ravens' 2017 season

The Ravens' season had it's ups and down, but out of it came some bright spots.

The defense continued to prove dominate and the offense found its groove during the second half of the season, but who stood out the most?

Offensive MVP: RB Alex Collins

Collins was a late preseason pickup after being cut by the Seattle Seahawks and Ravens fans are grateful they let him go. After new acquisition Danny Woodhead injured his hamstring on the first drive in Week 1 and Terrance West injured his calf Week 5 in Oakland, Allen emerged as a saving grace. He finished the season with 973 yards, six touchdowns and 212 attempts averaging 4.6 yards-per-carry. His longest rushing attempt was 50-yards against the Steelers in Week 4, and then in Week 14, rushed 120-yards on their defense. 

RELATED: RAVENS' 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT ROUNDUP

Defensive MVP: OLB Terrell Suggs

This one was a toss up between Suggs and inside linebacker C.J. Mosley, but considering the level at which Sizzle is playing at in his 15th season, his 2017 performance is MVP worthy.

The 35-year old finished the season with 49 combined tackles, 12 assist, 11 sacks and four forced fumbles. Suggs ranks 11th in the league in sacks and was voted to his seventh Pro Bowl, something that should be expected from the leader of a defense that finished the regular season ranked sixth in points allowed. During the Ravens' Week 12 matchup, Suggs proved he doesn't age when he strip sacked Texans QB Tom Savage with 4:44 remaining in the fourth, shifting the momentum back to the Ravens who were clinging on to a 23-16 win. He's suffered two Achilles tears and a torn bicep over the last 5.5 seasons but has remained Hall of Fame worthy. As of right now, T-Sizzle has no plans of retiring. 

RELATED: FIVE OFFSEASON QUESTIONS RAVENS MUST ANSWER

Rookie of the Year: CB Marlon Humphrey

The Ravens' 2017 first-round pick stepped up to the plate when starting CB Jimmy Smith's season was over after suffering a torn Achilles in Week 13. The rookie out of Alabama finished the season with 34 combined tackles, four assists and two interceptions. Pro Football Focus graded Humphrey the fifth-best cover corner in the league. QBs only had a 53.5 rating when they threw in his direction. PFF also gave Humphrey a 82.7 rookie rating. 

Humphrey will continue to prove his worth during the 2018 season if Jimmy Smith is still recovering come Week 1.

RELATED: IMPORTANT 2018 OFFSEASON DATES

Special Teams MVP: P Sam Koch

Koch is in his 12th season with the Ravens and he's continuing to prove how efficient that leg of his is. He had a season long of 67-yards and placed 40 of 84 punts inside the 20-yard line. Koch's accuracy earned him AFC special teams player of the week not once, but twice this season. The first came in Week 12 against the Houston Texans when he not only placed five punts inside the 20-yard line, but also faked a punt and threw a 22-yard pass to Chris Moore for a first down. The second honor came in Week 15 against the Cleveland Browns after placing four punts inside the 20-yard line, three of them inside the five. While neither Koch or kicker Justin Tucker were named to the Pro Bowl, Ravens fans never break a sweat when the game is in their hands, or should we say, legs.

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Important 2018 offseason dates for Baltimore Ravens

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USA Today Sports

Important 2018 offseason dates for Baltimore Ravens

Mark your calendars now because the Ravens are already gearing up for their 2018 season.

From the Pro-Bowl all the way to the start of the regular season, here are the key dates.

January 28th: Pro Bowl, Orlando, Fla. 

Safety Eric Weddle, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs and inside linebacker C.J. Mosley will all be in attendance. In addition, Suggs and Weddle were named starters. The game will take place at Camping World Stadium. Kickoff is at 3:00 p.m. ET on ABC and ESPN.

February 3rd: Pro Football Hall of Fame 2018 Class announced

This will be a very important day for Ray Lewis and the Ravens organization as Lewis waits to here if he will be sealed into football history, one day prior to Super Bowl LII. 

February 5th: Waiver system takes effect

The waiver system allows players' contracts or a club's NFL rights to a player available to other clubs in the league. Upon doing this, the other 31 teams can place a claim to obtain him or waive their chance. During this 24- hour period, once a club waives a player it can not take the player back or change his status. Assignments are based upon draft order until the third week of the regular season. If a player does not get claimed, he becomes a free agent. 

February 20th:  First day to franchise or transition tag a player

February 27th- March 5th: NFL Scouting Combine, Indianapolis, IN

This seven day period will be crucial for General Manager Ozzie Newsome to get a good look at potential Ravens.

March 6th: Deadline to franchise or transition tag a player

March 12-14th: Teams are allowed to contact and negotiate with agents of players scheduled to become unrestricted free agents

March 14th: Start of new league year at 4:00 p.m. ET

At this time, all 2017 player contracts expire meaning teams can begin seeking and signing free agents. Ravens free agents include Mike Wallace, Benjamin Watson, Ryan Jensen, Terrance West, James Hurst, Michael Campanaro, Steven Johnson, Ryan Mallet, Brandon Boykin, Crockett Gillmore, Brent Urban and Luke Bowanko.

March 25-28th: Owners Meeting, Orlando, FL

April 16th: Voluntary OTA's can begin

April 20th: Deadline for restricted FA's to sign offer sheets

April 26th-28th: 2018 NFL Draft, Arlington, TX

The Ravens will be heading down to Arlington, Texas in hopes of picking up their next franchise player. Positions needed include wide receiver, tight end, quarterback and outside linebacker.

May 4-7th or 11-14th: Potential three-day rookie minicamp

May 31-June 2nd: Ravens Beach Bash, Ocean City, MD

July 16th: Deadline to get long-term deal done with designated franchise tag player 

Mid-Late July: Training camp begins

August 2nd: Hall of Fame Game, Canton, OH

August 4th: Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Canton, OH

Again, keep this date marked as it could be the day Ray Lewis is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

September 6th: Start of regular season