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Ground game seals victory for Ravens

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Ground game seals victory for Ravens

KANSAS CITY -- If theres a silver lining to the Ravens 9-6 win vs. the Kansas City Chiefs its that they have their first win on the road and that when all else failed with the no-huddle offense it was running back Ray Rice who bailed them out.

Rice, who sometimes disappears in the running game because of the new emphasis on passing more and earlier in possessions, went silent after a productive first quarter when he gained 49 yards on five carries.

On the Ravens final drive at their own 15-yard line, quarterback Joe Flacco scrambled for a 16-yard gain on third-and-15 to extend a drive. Then, Rice ran the ball three times in a row after that, securing a first down, as the Ravens were able to kill the clock and escape 4-1 and with their first road victory.

Im glad we were able to keep it in our hands, end the game, running the ball, said Rice, who finished with 102 yards on 17 carries. It felt good to know that we ran the ball.

The Ravens didnt have much choice because Flacco couldnt find a rhythm. He was sacked four times. He completed just 13 of 27 passes for 187 yards, didnt throw a touchdown pass for the first time this season and had an interception en route to a 55.6 passer rating.

Rookie kicker Justin Tucker went 3-for-3 on field goals to give Baltimore its only points.

The defense deserved the credit, forcing the Chiefs into four turnovers to neutralize running back Jamaal Charles' impact of 140 yards on 30 carries. They've forced 12 turnovers for the season.

In the first half alone, Charles had 20 carries for 125 but the Ravens made subtle adjustments to prevent him from making game-changing plays and extending drives.

We found a way to keep them out of the end zone, coach John Harbaugh said. They had three points at halftime. Our defensive coaches did a tremendous job. They did an adjustment with all of our fronts. It just made a big difference for us.

It wasnt that we were being blocked. We werent just getting off blocks at the right time. Hes was a little quicker through the hole than some backs that you see. Our timing wasnt quite right. We cleaned it up a little bit. We changed our fronts.

That meant mistake-prone Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel had to win the game rather than just manage it. He had 10 of his teams NFL-high 15 turnovers coming into the game.

Cassel finished 9-for-15 for just 92 yards and two interceptions before being knocked out with a head injury in the fourth quarter.

Cassel also was credited with two fumbles, with the most costly one coming at the Ravens goal line to start third quarter and the Chiefs ready to break a 3-3 tie. Ravens safety Ed Reed recovered the botched snap in the end zone.

Later in the quarter, after Flacco was intercepted Brandon Flowers, Cassel was intercepted by Cary Williams with the ball at Baltimores 37.

The much-maligned defense, which has come under fierce criticism for being just 23rd overall in the league, couldn't have picked a better time to step up because the Ravens' offense stagnated away from home.

In fact, it hasn't scored a touchdown therein six quarters going back to a Week 2 loss at the Philadelphia Eagles 24.23. In that game, Tucker made two second-half field goals to give Baltimore its only points as it lost a 17-7 lead.

They play at home next Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, and even though they're sitting atop the AFC North there's a lot to fix.

In the end we got the W, cornerback Lardarius Webb said. Thats what counts most.

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A big Year 2 ahead, Lamar Jackson isn’t worried about Madden ratings

A big Year 2 ahead, Lamar Jackson isn’t worried about Madden ratings

The number eight is sports royalty in the city of Baltimore thanks to Cal Ripken Jr.

If Lamar Jackson has the career many are hoping for, he’ll be another reason for that one day down the road.

For now, he’s a young, athletic quarterback entering his second season in Charm City. But his successful rookie year hasn’t been reflected in Madden NFL 20’s newest ratings.

Jackson came in with an overall rating of 76, tied for 24th among all quarterbacks. Unsurprisingly, his athleticism is highly-regarded, as he leads all signal-callers in speed, acceleration, agility, and elusiveness.

Questions abound about his throwing abilities, leading to the low rating. But that’s not a concern for Jackson himself.

“I can’t feel no way,” the quarterback told media members prior to throwing out the first pitch at the Orioles-Nationals game Wednesday night. “You know, I don’t make Madden. That’s them. But I feel like our team, we’re going to show ‘em this season.”

Jackson continued to praise the Ravens roster. When asked about the high ratings for teammates like Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and Earl Thomas, Jackson put his thoughts quite succinctly: “We look stacked!”

Of course, with speed and acceleration ratings like Jackson has, it’s fun to imagine how he might fit in on a baseball diamond as well.

“Whew, somewhere in the middle, to make a play,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde decided when asked where the Ravens quarterback might play on his roster.

“I’m looking forward to meeting him. I’m a big football fan, so watched him play a lot. And if he wanted to play center field or up the middle, it’d be great,” Hyde continued.

The speedy quarterback agreed, though it came with a caveat.

“Probably,” Jackson quickly answered when asked about his best fit being center field. “But you know, I’m the Ravens QB right now, so I’m good.”

He doesn’t know what his walk-up song would be if he played baseball, but Jackson was definitive about one thing at least: his hot dog preferences.

“I don’t really eat mustard,” he emphasized. “So I just put ketchup, relish...I just go from there. Pretty standard.”

When he’s not eating hot dogs, Jackson is working hard to build chemistry with his new receiving corps, and he seemed optimistic about the results it will bring on the field.

“Looking pretty good,” he described. “You’ll have to see for yourself.”

Knowing how many dual Orioles and Ravens fans there are in Baltimore, Jackson was also happy to provide a little hope as the city’s attention starts to shift from baseball to football. He gave a message to O’s fans who have sat through months of losing baseball and are looking to the Ravens to bring winning back to the city.

“Look forward to us coming out and balling,” he said. “Can’t say too much right now, [the] season’s not here!”

The Ravens season will be here soon enough, and when it is, Jackson will be ready to go out and show both local and national fans what he can do, regardless of what his Madden rating says.

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Sports Illustrated predicts Ravens defense will regress this season

Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Sports Illustrated predicts Ravens defense will regress this season

With training camp just eight days away, here is the latest news surrounding the Baltimore Ravens.

1. The Ravens are expected to have one of the best defenses in the NFL this season, but not the No. 1 ranked. Sports Illustrated's Andy Benoit says he predicts the Ravens defense will actually regress due to the loss of C.J. Mosely and Terrell Suggs in free agency. However, not as much as one would expect, he says.

2. Speaking of defense, Ravens outside linebacker Matthew Judon is entering his contract year. The Athletics' Jeff Zrebiec writes that this upcoming season should be a breakout year for Judon who could make a big impact on defense. 

3. Ravens Training Camp passes are now available. The Ravens have 14 different training camp practices open to the public this season. Claim your tickets and parking pass here or on the Ravens' mobile app.

Looking Ahead:

July 24: Ravens training camp begins. Rookies are set to report a week earlier on Wednesday, July 17. 

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

Credit: Rotoworld and Baltimore Ravens for news points.

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