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Five instant observations from Ravens' dominant win over Dolphins

Five instant observations from Ravens' dominant win over Dolphins

BALTIMORE - Five instant observations after the Ravens’ most impressive win of the season, 38-6, over the Dolphins (7-5). The win kept the Ravens (7-5) in first place in the AFC North, in control of their playoff destiny with four games left to play:

1. The Ravens’ offense was finally potent.

The Ravens had five offensive possessions in the first half, and scored on four of them. In the first half alone, the Ravens had 303 yards total offense, and Joe Flacco had three touchdown passes, completing throws to 10 different targets. This was the breakout offensive game the Ravens had been seeking. That should give them confidence heading into Monday Night Football next week, when they visit the Patriots.

2. Flacco could be gearing up for a big December.

This was Flacco’s best game of the season, setting a franchise record for completions with 36. His numbers were gaudy – 36 for 47, 381 yards, four touchdowns, one interception, 119.2 passer rating. Flacco’s history of playing his best football late in the season bodes well for the Ravens, especially since Flacco now looks comfortable running offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg’s offense. 

If Flacco gets hot in December, he’s good enough to carry the Ravens to the playoffs, whether you think he’s elite or not.

3.The play of tight end Dennis Pitta is a tribute to his perseverance.

Many people urged Pitta to retire after his second major hip surgery. However, Pitta (nine catches, 90 yards) was an offensive force in this game. Consider that Pitta had not scored a touchdown since 2013.  When asked about Pitta not scoring a touchdown this season on Wednesday, Flacco said, “He is playing really well. You cannot try to make those things happen; they just start happening.” Pitta made things happen in this game. Retiring is the last thing on Pitta’s mind.

4. The Ravens’ defense is among the NFL’s best, and it’s locked in.

The Dolphins came into this game riding a six-game winning streak. But they were dominated. If not for a fumble by Pitta that set up the Dolphins’ only touchdown, they might have been shutout. Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi (12 carries, 61 yards) was contained by the Ravens’ No. 1-ranked run defense. With cornerback Jimmy Smith back in action after a two-game absence, and linebacker Elvis Dumervil finally healthy, the Ravens’ defense isn’t going away.

5. Only one of these teams looked like a legit playoff contender.

If the Ravens have had trouble getting respect this season, what did this game say about the Dolphins? New coach Adam Gase has the Dolphins headed in the right direction. But they were thoroughly outplayed in this one.

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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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