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Upshaw ends sack drought at perfect time

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Upshaw ends sack drought at perfect time

Lost amid the carnage of Joe Flacco's season-ending injury news on Sunday -- which itself overshadowed the otherwise huge news of Justin Forsett's season-ending injury, linebacker Courtney Upshaw delivered perhaps his best game and biggest play of the 2015 season on Sunday.

Upshaw's strip-sack in the final minute on Sunday -- his first sack in two years -- set up the Ravens for their game-winning field goal in their 16-13 win over the Rams. He also had a huge part in containing Rams rookie phenom Todd Gurley, who labored for every one of his 66 rushing yards on 25 carries.

"Here’s a guy that has been competing like crazy, been listening to all of your criticism from time to time – not everybody, just a couple – and doesn’t let it get to him because he knows how hard he works," coach John Harbaugh said after the game. "He knows what kind of player he is, and to see it pay off for him in a moment like this is just incredibly rewarding for him."

Upshaw has always been known as edge-setting, run-stuffing linebacker, but he has struggled to get to the quarterback, something he's been asked to do much more with Terrell Suggs sidelined for the season.

Upshaw, who has not missed a game in his career, has 31 tackles and three pass breakups this season. Before this season, he had primarily been a first- and second-down linebacker, giving way to Elvis Dumervil in passing situations. He came into the Rams game with three career sacks, none this year.

"It actually feels great to get the first one in that fashion, too," Upshaw said after the game. "At the end of the day, we want to win the game. We had to make a play. Somebody had to make a play, and I’m just glad I made it.”

This is a huge year for Upshaw, who is set to hit free agency next spring. Rush linebackers generally draw the big-money deals, but Upshaw probably never will be that 12-sack, Suggs prototype. Still, showing the ability to rush the passer and wreak havoc will help the Ravens in the short term and Upshaw in the long term.

"We work at it every week," Upshaw said after Sunday's game. "It’s on me to go out there and make things happen."

RELATED: Brown: Flacco, Manziel had very different weekends

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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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