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Flacco, Ravens crank up the offense in 44-20 win over Lions

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Flacco, Ravens crank up the offense in 44-20 win over Lions

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Ravens got another ball-swiping performance from their opportunistic defense, and this time -- for a change -- the offense also contributed to a significant victory.

Joe Flacco threw for 269 yards and two touchdowns, and the Ravens forced three pivotal turnovers Sunday in a 44-20 win over the Detroit Lions.

Flacco helped Baltimore take a 20-0 halftime lead and directed three scoring drives in the fourth quarter to keep the Ravens in front.

After relying heavily on their defense for much of the season, the Ravens (7-5) finally received an ample boost from the league's 31st-ranked offense.


Flacco went 23 for 36, Alex Collins ran for 75 yards and two scores, and Baltimore stretched its season-high winning streak to three games with its most complete performance of the season.

"The offense kept answering. That's what team victories are all about," coach John Harbaugh said. "It was a team victory across the board."

Matthew Stafford completed a team-record 20 straight passes in the second half, twice cutting the deficit to a touchdown. But Detroit (6-6) lost a second straight following a three-game winning streak.

"Get within one score, and the bottom falls out," coach Jim Caldwell said.

Stafford left late in the fourth quarter with a bruised right hand after being stepped on. He went 24 for 29 for 292 yards.

"You know, that's a really, really good defense we just played," Stafford said. "We knew it was going to be a tough game and we knew there were going to be times we were going to struggle on offense. We just had to keep trying to plug away."

Despite getting the Lions within 20-13 and 27-20, Stafford never could quite make up the difference.

Maybe it's because Flacco wouldn't let him.

"I really felt good about how we responded to them scoring some points in the second half, and we were able to keep getting into the end zone as well," Flacco said.

"We've struggled to get the ball into the end zone at times, so it was really big to get the touchdowns today when we really needed them."


The Ravens came in with three shutouts and an NFL-best 26 takeaways.

They upped that total to 29 with three huge plays: A strip-sack of Stafford by Eric Weddle that led to a touchdown in the second quarter; a fourth-quarter interception that set up a game-clinching TD run by Collins with four minutes to go; and a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown by Weddle against Jake Rudock with 2:26 remaining.

Baltimore's third straight victory came at a price. Standout cornerback Jimmy Smith left in the second quarter after hurting his Achilles tendon without being touched.

"Looks like Jimmy has a torn Achilles," Harbaugh said. "That's tough. It looks like he'll be out the rest of the year."

Smith has been bothered by a sore Achilles for much of the season. The seven-year veteran has missed several practices, but started all 12 games and is second on the team with three interceptions.

He was replaced by rookie Marlon Humphrey, Baltimore's top draft choice. Humphrey intercepted Stafford in the fourth quarter.

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Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

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Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

The Baltimore Ravens have signed WR Michael Crabtree to a three-year deal on Friday according to general manager and executive vice president Ozzie Newsome.

The deal is apparently worth $21 million, according to Adam Shefter.

After being released by the Raiders Thursday following the signing of Jordy Nelson, Crabtree heads to the Ravens less than 24 hours later.


The 31-year-old is coming off a 2017 season when he recorded 58 receptions for 618 yards and eight touchdowns. In 2016 he posted 89 receptions for 1,003 yards and eight touchdowns.

Since 2015, the Texas Tech product has scored 25 receiving touchdowns, the fifth-most in the NFL. Crabtree and Steelers WR Antonio Brown are the only NFL players to post at least eight touchdown catches in each of the past three seasons.


In all, Crabtree has played nine NFL seasons – six of them with San Francisco (2009-14) and three with Oakland (2015-17). The former first-round draft pick (10th overall, Texas Tech) has registered 579 receptions for 6,870 yards (11.9 avg.) and 51 touchdowns in 125 career games (122 starts).

“Michael has played very well against the Ravens, so we know firsthand the attributes he brings to the game,” Newsome said in a team statement. “He is a smart, tough, physical receiver who battles for the ball. We like his temperament and believe he is a good fit for our football team, on and off the field.”

Since he entered the NFL in 2009, Crabtree’s 51 receiving scores rank 10th among active wide receivers, while his receptions (579) are seventh, and his receiving yards (6,870) are 12th.

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Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

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Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

The most obvious move in the NFL this offseason was the Ravens signing a new wide receiver (or three). It was less obvious why the team decided to commit so much money to former Redskins receiver Ryan Grant.

Grant has long been beloved by his coaches and teammates, but the results have never been there on game day. He has some potential to improve if given a larger role in a team's offense, which he likely would have had in Baltimore, but it never made much sense to offer him a 4-year contract worth nearly 30 million, with $14.5 million guaranteed.

Thankfully for fans who were uninspired by the reported agreement, Grant was unable to pass his physical and will not be joining the team.


At a press conference Friday morning, GM Ozzie Newsome called the void a "medical decision" that Newsome had no control over. 

NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported that Grant is recovering from a Grade 2 sprained ankle that would need two months rest.

You have to feel for Grant, who by all accounts has worked his tail off for many years just waiting for his chance. It's never easy missing out on nearly $15 million dollars guaranteed, but Grant should be able to find work with another team.

The timing of this news, coming so soon after former Raider Michael Crabtree became available, seemed fishy to some.

At Friday's press conference, Newsome also said the team would have still pursued Crabtree if they signed Grant. 

It's probably not fair to suggest that an NFL franchise would actually so publicly back out of a deal just because another option came along, as any team with that reputation would struggle to attract future free agents. That said, it could end up working out splendidly for the team.

Besides, if all else is equal, shouldn't a team located in Baltimore be going after a guy named CRABtree?