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Flacco beats Brady after knocking off Manning

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Flacco beats Brady after knocking off Manning

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) Joe Flacco beat two of the NFL's greatest quarterbacks to get the Baltimore Ravens to the Super Bowl.

Now he's the man with the rich resume going into the biggest game of his life.

Flacco helped end Tom Brady's season one week after he did the same to Peyton Manning, throwing three touchdown passes in the second half and leading the Ravens to a 28-13 win over the New England Patriots in the AFC championship game Sunday.

``We didn't come all the way here to play it safe and hope to win,'' Flacco said. ``We came here and we were in the AFC championship game and you have to go play to win.''

Do that one more time, against the San Francisco 49ers, and he'll add a Super Bowl championship to a stellar postseason record.

He'll just have to outplay first-year starter Colin Kaepernick. Finally, he's the quarterback to beat.

``He's a great quarterback,'' said wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who caught two touchdown passes. ``I don't know why people keep doubting him because the bigger the situation is, the bigger he plays, and he's proven that time and time again.''

The 49ers, though, opened as 5-point favorites for the NFL championship game.

Flacco completed 21 of 36 passes for 240 yards against the Patriots. One week earlier, he completed 18 of 34 passes for a postseason franchise record 331 yards in a 38-35 double-overtime win over Manning and the Denver Broncos. In each game he threw for three touchdowns - and no interceptions.

Brady was 29 for 54 for 320 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. And Manning went 28 for 43 for 290 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.

Oh, and Flacco beat the Indianapolis Colts and rookie quarterback Andrew Luck 24-9 in the wild-card round.

``We've always believed in Joe,'' coach John Harbaugh said, ``and for Joe to come out and to have this kind of a game and this kind of a stage three weeks in a row - Luck's a pretty good quarterback, Manning's a pretty good quarterback and Brady's a great quarterback.

``All those guys are great players, but Joe's a great quarterback. And Joe has proven that. He's not just proven it this year, he's proven it for five years.''

Flacco won his sixth postseason game on the road, the most in NFL history. He is the only quarterback with a postseason victory on each of his first five seasons during the Super Bowl era. He's 8-4 in playoff games.

His 62 victories, including the postseason, are more than any NFL quarterback since the start of the 2008 season.

More than Brady. More than Manning.

And now the 18th pick of the 2008 draft out who didn't play at a small-time school - he was a star at Delaware - he's going to the NFL championship game for the first time.

``From the first snap (when) he went against our defense, I knew he was a smart guy,'' safety Ed Reed said. ``He blitzed him and he threw it straight to the sideline out of bounds because he knew we were coming. He's always been a leader (with) more than potential to lead us to where we're going right now.''

It looked like he would lead the Ravens right out of the postseason in the first half when he completed just 6 of 12 passes for 81 yards with no touchdowns. But in the second half he went 15 for 24 for 159 yards with all three touchdowns.

``We hadn't gotten much going on offense,'' he said. ``They do a good job stopping the run and we knew we had to come out here in the second half and make some plays in the passing game.''

The Ravens didn't do that on their first series in the third quarter.

Then Flacco got rolling.

On his next three series he threw touchdown passes of 5 yards to Dennis Pitta and 3 yards and 11 yards to Boldin- all in a span of 10:01.

Just like that, a 13-7 deficit was replaced by a 28-13 lead.

With Flacco at the helm.

``These games are tough to win and we've put ourselves in the position to win these games and, eventually, you're going to push through and play the way you need to,'' he said.

No matter who the opposing quarterback is.

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Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram were at a loss for words when discussing the death of Kobe Bryant

Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram were at a loss for words when discussing the death of Kobe Bryant

The world mourned the death of a legend Sunday afternoon when the news of Kobe Bryant's death broke.

The timing of the tragedy coincided with the 2020 NFL Pro Bowl, where the NFL's best and brightest were informed of the news.

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was emotional when discussing Bryant's passing.

Jackson talked about looking up to Bryant and about how the latter gave him an autographed jersey when he was drafted.

Mark Ingram detailed the reaction in the locker room, saying that it was "devastating" and that "you almost didn't really want to come play.

"The world lost a great one today," Ingram added. "He impacted many, many lives. People he didn't even know."

Nine people reportedly lost their lives in the unspeakable tragedy. They will not be forgotten.

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Lamar Jackson wins Pro Bowl Offensive MVP as AFC beats NFC

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Lamar Jackson wins Pro Bowl Offensive MVP as AFC beats NFC

The Ravens were the most represented team at the Pro Bowl, so it was only fitting two of the biggest contributors were from Baltimore, too. 

Lamar Jackson and Mark Andrews combined for three touchdowns as the AFC beat the NFC 38-33 in the Pro Bowl on Sunday in Orlando. 

Jackson was named Pro Bowl Offensive MVP in just the first Pro Bowl of his young career. 

In addition to the 12 players that were selected from the NFL’s top regular season team, the AFC was coached by Baltimore’s coaching staff. 

Mourning Kobe Bryant

The Pro Bowl’s priority in the grand scheme of things took a backseat Sunday afternoon after NBA legend Kobe Bryant passed away in a helicopter crash in California. He was 41 years old.

Ravens players tweeted their condolences after news of his death broke and the sports world slowed to honor Bryant.

Jackson was interviewed by ESPN’s Lisa Salters during the game, where he spoke highly of Bryant’s career. 

"That's a legend, man,” Jackson said. “He did so much for the game of basketball. A lot of people looked up to Kobe Bryant, including myself. From what I heard, he was a great person as well. My prayers are with his family."

Lamar Starts

The second-year quarterback had a strong outing in his first ever Pro Bowl appearance. 

Jackson finished 16-of-23 for 185 yards through the air with two touchdowns and an interception. He added six yards on the ground on just two carries. 

His two touchdown passes were tied for a game-high as he played for a majority of the first half. 

For his day, he won Pro Bowl Offensive MVP. It almost assuredly won’t be his only MVP from the 2019 season. 

Other Ravens In Action

But it wasn’t just Jackson that saw the field for the Ravens. 

Andrews finished the game with a game-high nine receptions for 73 yards -- a team high. He also caught a touchdown pass from Jackson in the second quarter. 

Mark Ingram led all players on the ground with 31 yards on five carries, with the help of three of his offensive linemen: Ronnie Stanley, Marshal Yanda and Orlando Brown Jr. 

Defensively, Marlon Humphrey had three tackles, Earl Thomas had two and Matthew Judon added one as well. 

Late in the fourth quarter, Thomas intercepted a pass on the Pro Bowl’s new onside kick rule, which replaces a standard onside kick with a 4th-and-15 play. Thomas then lateraled the ball to Humphrey, who pitched it to Judon before the play was whistled dead.

Justin Tucker added a first half 50-yard field goal, too, as the Ravens made sure they were well-known at the Pro Bowl.