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Batch of emotion for Steelers QB

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Batch of emotion for Steelers QB

Charlie Batch turns 38 on Wednesday. He’s been in the NFL since 1998. Yet there couldn’t have been a member of the Steelers more touched by Sunday’s 23-20 victory over the Ravens than the veteran quarterback.

Filling in for injured fill-in Byron Leftwich while the Steelers wait for Ben Roethlisberger to heal enough to reassume his position, Batch had an awful performance last week in Pittsburgh’s loss to the lowly Browns. He was intercepted three times and posted a passer rating of 38.7.

And had the Steelers not won on Sunday, fingers would have been pointed at Batch for missing a wide-open Mike Wallace in the end zone in the first half. But Batch came through when it counted most, completing his last seven passes, including 4-for-4 on the 12-play drive that took Pittsburgh to the game-winning field goal by Shaun Suisham as time expired.

After Suisham’s kick, Batch and Roethlisberger embraced on the sideline, with Batch burying his face in Roethlisberger’s shoulder while he was clearly sobbing, overcome by the emotion of leading his team to a victory that meant so much — because of the rivalry with the Ravens, because of Pittsburgh’s tenuous playoff position, because of wanting to make up for the week before.

And also — with Roethlisberger likely returning next week — because this might have been the last game Batch plays in the NFL.

“I think every game I got out there, I look at it that way,” Batch said, according to The New York Times. “I wanted this opportunity because I played poorly last week, and I wanted the opportunity to come out there and prove it and lead this team. I’ve been in the league 15 years. I’ve been a starter in this league, and the one thing you can’t do is dwell on the past.”

Batch finished 25 of 36 for 276 yards.

"We were able to do something nobody thought we were able to do, outside of our locker room," Batch told NBC's Carolynn Manno after the game (via Shutdown Corner). "We came down here, we knew it was going to be a 60-minute ballgame. We see everybody fought — offense, defense, special teams — and we put the thing together. … We know we're a team. We know we didn't put our best performance last week. We knew in order for us to get to where we want to get to, and that's a shot at the tournament, we knew we had to come in here and get this. And no matter how it unfolds, we know that come December, we have to win football games and it started today."

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Lamar Jackson tweets photo of George Floyd in Ray Lewis jersey

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Lamar Jackson tweets photo of George Floyd in Ray Lewis jersey

Lamar Jackson posted a photo on Twitter Monday of George Floyd wearing a Baltimore Ravens' Ray Lewis jersey. Floyd's death while in police custody has sparked several protests across the country,

"#Rip #BigGeorgeFloyd #FloydFlock," Jackson wrote.

The reigning NFL MVP is one of many college and pro athletes to share their support for Floyd and demand for change regarding police brutality, a group including LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Bradley Beal and Richard Sherman.

On May 25, videos emerged of police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on the back of Floyd's neck for over eight minutes while making an arrest. Floyd, who was accused of using a counterfeit $20 bill at a deli in Powderhorn, Minneapolis, died later that day.

Chauvin and the three other officers involved in the incident were fired, and Chauvin was later arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. 

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Four Ravens that could have a breakout season in 2020

Four Ravens that could have a breakout season in 2020

The Ravens 14-2 season last year was, statistically, one of the best offensive seasons in NFL history. The regular season win-loss record was the best in franchise history and, frankly, there’s really only room to go down — on paper — for the Ravens in 2020. 

But individually, there are a few players that could take a big step forward this upcoming season. Here are four players who are going a bit under the radar that could impress.

EDGE, Jaylon Ferguson

Ferguson might be the player on this list the Ravens would benefit the most from getting a breakout season from. 

As the team’s No. 2 pass-rusher last season, he played in 14 games (nine starts) and had 2.5 sacks. He made 31 combined tackles and had nine quarterback hits. 

Now with Matthew Judon playing under the franchise tag, a productive season would give the Ravens a legitimate second pass-rusher off the edge to compliment Judon on the other side. His potential increase in production isn’t just based on Ferguson’s development from year-to-year, either. 

The Ravens made vast improvements to the front seven over the offseason and added veterans  Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe, as well as rookies Justin Madubuike and Broderick Washington. With an improved interior rush, Ferguson could reap the benefits and have a breakout second season. 

If he does, not only will the Ravens have one of the best secondaries in the NFL, they’ll have one of the best defensive fronts, too.

WR, Miles Boykin

Boykin is maybe the easiest answer on this list. Not only does Boykin expect to have a breakout season, the Ravens expect him to as well. 

But it won’t come easy for the second-year, 6-foot-4 wideout. 

He had just 13 catches for 198 yards and three touchdowns last season, which placed him eighth on the team in targets and receptions. Just two players ahead of him on the list, Hayden Hurst and Seth Roberts, departed in the offseason. 

The Ravens also added wide receivers Devin Duvernay and James Proche in the third and sixth rounds, respectively, in April’s draft and then drafted running back J.K. Dobbins in the second round. Simply, there might not be a lot of targets to go around. 

And, with Marquise Brown now healthy in his second season, Boykin will have serious competition for targets in a monster year for his career outlook in Baltimore. 

ILB, Patrick Queen

Queen is the likeliest rookie to break out on the Ravens, and for good reason. 

He was the team’s first pick at 28th overall, at the biggest position of need on the roster. He’ll be handed an immediate starting spot and will play behind three big defensive linemen in Brandon Williams, Campbell and Wolfe. 

Defensively, the Ravens ranked 20th in the NFL in yards-per-carry (4.4) and 21st in sacks (37) last year, both numbers which should improve in the 2020 season. Queen should be the one to reap the benefits of that immediately. 

With a defensive line that’s vastly improved from a year ago, Queen — a three-down linebacker — should boost the Ravens’ front seven both in the run and pass game.

RB, J.K. Dobbins

Dobbins requires a bit of an exception to make this list. 

His 2019 season at Ohio State was one of the best in Buckeyes’ history. He had 301 carries for 2,003 yards (6.7 yards per carry) and scored 21 rushing touchdowns. But while his time at Ohio State screamed immediate starter in the NFL, he was drafted by one of the few teams in the league where that’s not abundantly clear. 

He’ll join the depth chart behind Mark Ingram and with Gus Edwards and Justice Hill to compete for touches out of the backfield. That’s no easy task for the Ravens to manage. 

If, however, the Ravens manage the backfield’s touches successfully, there’s an opening for Dobbins to seize a bigger role in the backfield than some might expect. 

Make no mistake, the Ravens didn’t spend the 55th overall pick on a player to sit him on the bench. As to how much he’ll see the field depends on both Ingram’s play and Dobbins’ development, though. 

But if Ingram, who had 1,018 yards last season on 202 carries, doesn’t see the ball as much, there’s an easy path to being a prominent figure in the Ravens’ backfield.

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