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Ravens' offense bounces back in huge road win against Raiders

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Ravens' offense bounces back in huge road win against Raiders

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Mike Wallace got excited as soon as he saw the script, knowing he'd have an early chance to deliver the big passing play that has been missing too often this season for Baltimore.

Wallace caught a tone-setting 52-yard pass from Joe Flacco on the first play from scrimmage to set up an early touchdown for the Ravens, and Jimmy Smith added a fumble return for a score on the next drive that helped fuel Baltimore's 30-17 victory over the short-handed Oakland Raiders on Sunday.

"I just knew last night when I saw this play call, if we get this play I knew it would be on me to start the game off," Wallace said. "It was going to be a snowball effect. I just had thoughts like that last night. Then we came out and caught them on the first play. Wish I would have scored."

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That pass set up tight end Vince Mayle's 2-yard touchdown run on an end-around and the Ravens (3-2) got going after being held scoreless in losses the past two weeks.

Flacco had struggled to get the ball downfield against Jacksonville and Pittsburgh, averaging less than 4 yards an attempt those games. But the early deep ball to Wallace helped open things up and the two connected later on a 54-yard pass and a 27-yarder, equaling the team's season total of 20-yard pass plays in the previous four weeks.

"It definitely feels good to let the ball go down the field and let Mike go get one," Flacco said. "You can see it on his face, when he starts getting involved, how much he gets revved up and how much it helps our offense."

The Raiders (2-3), playing without injured star quarterback Derek Carr and two key cornerbacks, played from behind all game as Smith returned Jared Cook's fumble 47 yards for a touchdown that made it 14-0 just 3:50 in.

Backup quarterback E.J. Manuel , making his fourth start in the past three seasons, threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree and led another TD drive that ended in Marshawn Lynch's 3-yard run . He finished 13 for 26 for 159 yards.

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But that wasn't nearly enough for the Raiders, who have dropped three straight following a 2-0 start, putting a severe dent in their hopes to challenge in the AFC West.

"It's a big shock to start the season off this way," running back Jalen Richard said. "I don't even know what to say. It's like a bad shock. We just keep getting whooped. It's just going to come down to when (are) we going to get tired of getting whooped."

The Ravens had also lost two in a row following a 2-0 start, but reversed that slide thanks to Flacco and the opportunistic defense. Flacco completed 19 of 26 passes for 222 yards.

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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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