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Flacco engineers well-oiled machine to record 55 points


Flacco engineers well-oiled machine to record 55 points

Make no mistake, the Ravens were supposed to trample the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.

Just not this badly.

How they did it by a 55-20 margin was astounding en route to their NFL-high 15th consecutive regular season win at M&T Bank Stadium.

Joe Flacco threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns as the Ravens (7-2) scored 27 of their points in the first half, more than they could muster in four quarters of any of their four road games this season.

Going to play at the Pittsburgh Steelers for an AFC North game next Sunday, the challenge will be to replicate the magic at M&T where the Ravens average 37 points -- 20 points more than they score away.

“I honestly don’t think about it too much because it’s just happened to work out that way,” Flacco said when asked about his team’s inability to duplicate a performance such as this away from home. “They put up our record on the scoreboard today at home since ’08 and we have five losses. … We’ve played some big games on the road a couple years, every year we’ve been here, and we’ve won a lot of them.”

Sunday’s points are a franchise-high as Flacco posted his first 300-yard game passing since Week 4. It also is the most in the NFL this season, eclipsing 52 scored by the New England Patriots.

The result was secure early for Baltimore when Ray Rice, who only ran for 35 yards, punched in a 7-yard touchdown just before the intermission.

In the third quarter, Flacco would find Torrey Smith for touchdown passes of 47 and 20 yards on consecutive drives and holder/punter Sam Koch would run in a fake field goal for a 7-yard score. The Raiders (3-6) aided the effort by committing 10 penalties for 105 yards and three turnovers.

“For most of the game, we felt like we were in it, but things came apart in the third quarter,” Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer said. “They kept scoring and we couldn’t keep up. With all the penalties and mental errors we had, there’s no way we’re going to beat a playoff team on their field.”

Jacoby Jones piled it on with a 105-yard kickoff for his second touchdown on special teams this season. He had a 108-yard return in the 31-29 win against the Dallas Cowboys.

The Ravens’ defense was playing without cornerback Jimmy Smith, who was a late scratch because of a lingering groin strain. Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata dressed but didn’t play, either.

Still, the Ravens’ struggling run defense didn’t have to contend with Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson, both out with high ankle sprains.  Oakland only gained 72 yards on 24 carries for a 3.0 average.

During a three-game stretch, the Ravens were allowing 207 yards per game on the ground going into last week’s 25-15 win at the Cleveland Browns. There, they allowed 116. The line deflected six passes from Palmer.

This was a complete game for the Ravens, who started out well against the Browns with a 14-point lead but went without a first down in the second and third quarters, as all three phases made significant contributions for the victory.

Flacco even found tight end Dennis Pitta, who hasn't been a factor in the offense since Week 3, for a 5-yard touchdown pass that gave the Ravens a 17-3 lead.

"They definitely looked like they put an emphasis on trying to get to us a little bit, and we were able to get the ball out of our hands quickly," Flacco said. "And we had some good calls for those situations."

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Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst


Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst

The Ravens have their entire 2018 draft class locked up.

The team agreed to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Hurst's rookie contract - like all first-round picks - is a four-year deal with a team option of a fifth year. According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the 25th overall pick is due $11.1 million. 

The 24-year old, who was a walk on at South Carolina at 21-years old after being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012, finished his three-year career with 100 receptions, 1,281 yards and three touchdowns.

Standing at 6-foot-3, Hurst will be a nice addition to the TE corps with Nick Boyle and third-round draft pick Mark Andrews. 

Fellow first-round pick Lamar Jackson signed his rookie contract on June 5th.

Training camp kicks off for the Ravens July 19th. 


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Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

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Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

Since drafting Lamar Jackson, the Ravens have made it clear that Joe Flacco is their starter. That doesn't mean they're not experimenting with having them both on the field at the same time, however. 

During this week's minicamp, the team has been lining Jackson up at multiple positions. 

"Gosh, I sure like him out there helping us," coach John Harbaugh said of Jackson during Tuesday's minicamp, via ESPN.com.

"If you put two quarterbacks on the field at once, what options does it create for our offense? That's what we're trying to figure out."

While at Louisville, Jackson rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns in three seasons. That's more rushing yards than No. 2 overall pick Saquon Barkley. That unique skill set could be the creative options the Ravens are looking for. 

While at the NFL Combine, however, Jackson refused to workout at any other position than QB. 

"I have a lot of fun seeing what they come up with and what they're going to come up with next," Jackson said. "We'll see where it goes. You have to use your good players."

The Ravens are already viewing Jackson as one of those 'good players.' 

"Once he gets out of the pocket, it's like watching a young Michael Vick," LB C.J. Mosley said after minicamp practice. "It's amazing to watch. When you're defending him, you just have to act like you're tagging off -- you don't want to be on the highlight reel."

Harbaugh has alluded to the fact that the rookie will be active on game days, just exactly how they get the most out of him is what's in play.

"There's a lot of considerations that go into that," Harbaugh said of using two QBs at the once. "Everybody has an opinion. I've read a few. You want to find a way to get the most out of all your guys."

While Flacco isn't the fasted QB in the league, he has shown glimpses of running ability in the past. Figuring out how to utilize Flacco when Jackson is under center is where things will get interesting.

Interesting - as long as it works - is what Ravens fans have been searching for over the last several seasons. 

"Joe has to be able to do other things if [Jackson is] throwing the ball," Harbaugh said. "It gets the creative juices flowing for our offensive coaches, and they've worked hard on that."