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Ravens-Bengals Instant Analysis


Ravens-Bengals Instant Analysis

Ravens 44, Bengals 13

Joe Flacco has the offense on a fast track with the hurry-up offense, and Cincinnati simply got run out of M&T Bank Stadium on Monday night.

The Ravens were too creative and explosive as they made it three consecutive wins vs. their AFC North foe, dating to last season, in the opener for both.

Flacco opened with a 52-yard completion to start the game to Torrey Smith. It resulted in just a field goal by Justin Tucker, but the Ravens would grow that to a 17-3 lead in the second quarter and never look back.

The Ravens took 5:45 to score their first touchdown on a seven-yard run by Ray Rice, then drove 82 yards in 2:27 for a 34-yard touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin in the second quarter and 89 yards in 3:41 for a 10-yard touchdown pass by tight end Dennis Pitta to open the third quarter.

True to his word, coach John Harbaugh mixed it up. They faked a reverse, threw deep, got Rice out of the backfield as a receiver. Flacco completed passes to seven different receivers.

As the Bengals tried to mount a comeback in the second half, the Ravens defense asserted itself as they pressured Andy Dalton. He was forced into an interception that was returned 34 yards for a touchdown by Ed Reed. A sack and forced fumble by Ray Lewis was recovered by Lardarius Webb, who also began blitzing from the edge.

Two plays and 28 yards later, Rice ran it into the end zone from a yard for a 41-13 edge.

Dalton was held to 22-for-37 passing for 221 yards, no TDs, one interception and a 65.3 passer rating.

Player of the game: Flacco picked apart the Bengals secondary, passing 21-for-29 for 299 yards, two TDs, no INTs and a 128.4 rating

Turning point: After stalling on the first drive and settling for a field goal, Harbaugh opted to go for it on 4th and 1 from Cincinnatis 21. They got it, and the drive ended with Rices first touchdown, his 30th of his career that moved him into fourth all-time in Ravens history past Derrick Mason, for a 10-0 lead.

Highlights: Smith showed why hes such a threat. On the first play from scrimmage, he caught a 52-yard pass that mightve been a touchdown if he didnt have to wait for it. Pitta had five receptions for 73 yards by the end of the third, which was a career high for yardage. Reed returned an interception, his 58th overall, of Dalton 34 yards for a TD in the third, making him the all-time leader in return yards (1,497) by surpassing Rod Woodson (1,483). Haloti Ngata had two sacks, his third career game with two sacks. Rookie Courtney Upshaw got his first sack in dropping Dalton for a 12-yard loss. He combined with Pernell McPhee as both were credited with half of a sack.

Lowlights: Flacco was sacked three times. BenJarvus Green-Ellis averaged 5.2 yards per carry in the first half and finished with 91 yards on 18 carries. Flacco had several poor throws that easily couldve resulted in three interceptions that couldve turned the outcome of the game early on. Fortunately for him, the Bengals couldnt hold the ball. Rice only had 10 carries.

Surprises: Ramon Harewood started at left guard in place of Bobbie Williams, the veteran who is a former Bengal and expected to start there. As reported over the weekend by CSNBaltimore, rookie Kelechi Osemele started at right tackle while Michael Oher was moved to the right side ahead of veteran Bryant McKinnie.

Replacements: Officials blew two calls in the first quarter. McPhee was drawn in the neutral zone after the offensive line moved, replays showed. That made a 3rd and 7 and more manageable third down and 2 for the Bengals, who went on to convert a field goal. On that same drive, Bengals WR A.J. Green caught a 19-yard pass, controlled it throughout, took several steps as he was tackled to the ground and then the ball came loose. It was ruled incomplete and the Bengals didnt challenge the call. Webb was called for a personal foul for a clean hit on Dalton, hitting him with his shoulder in the lower back as he released the ball.

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Ravens cancel Saturday's open practice at M&T Bank Stadium

USA Today Sports

Ravens cancel Saturday's open practice at M&T Bank Stadium

The Baltimore Ravens cancelled Saturday night's free open practice at M&T Bank Stadium due to a forecast that calls for heavy rain and inclement weather.

There is no official word from the team on whether this practice will be resheduled, but it seems like Sunday may be an option, even though there's rain in the forecast then too.

Ravens fans who were looking to see first-round draft pick and potential future starting quarterback Lamar Jackson will have to wait for another day. His presence at training camp, an inevitable competition with the incumbent, Joe Flacco, and potential two-quarterback packages involving both of them are set to be some of the biggest storylines of Ravens camp this summer.

As a Heisman Trophy winner, Jackson was one of the most dynamic players in college football during his time at Louisville. If he can replicate that kind of performance in the NFL, he will be at plenty more training camp sessions for Ravens fans to watch.


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After breakout 2017 season, Ravens running back Alex Collins isn't getting too comfortable

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After breakout 2017 season, Ravens running back Alex Collins isn't getting too comfortable

This time last year, running back Alex Collins wasn't a part of the Baltimore Ravens.

After being released by the Seattle Seahawks at the end of the 2017 preseason, the Ravens placed the 23-year-old on their practice squad, and by Week 2, Collins was already making plays.

As the season progressed, Collins found himself as the Ravens' top running back. He finished 2017 as the team's leading rusher with 973 yards while Javorius "Buck" Allen followed behind him with 591 yards.

If the 2018 NFL season began today, Collins would likely be the Ravens' starter, which is quite ironic considering the fate of his 2017 preseason.

"I always go back to where I started and where I am now, and I use that as my motivation," Collins said after Thursday's training camp practice.

"No matter the day, no matter how tired I am, I think to myself, at this time last year, I didn’t know my position, where I was, where I’d end up. So just having that security behind it is definitely my motivation to keep it this way and keep pushing forward and keep trying to get better instead of being complacent.”

Over the course of 15 games, Collins proved he had the strength and speed to make an impact on the team after Danny Woodhead suffered a hamstring injury on the first drive of the Ravens' Week 1 game and Kenneth Dixon sat out the entire season with a torn meniscus. 

While job security is something we all strive for, Collins isn't getting too comfortable with the hierarchy. 

“I don’t want to say necessarily ‘comfortable,’ because when I use that word, it makes me feel like I’m too relaxed and lackadaisical," Collins said.

"I’m more focused. I don’t want to get comfortable. I don’t want the team or our group to get comfortable, because we just want to get better every day. So, in the position I am, it’s a great feeling, but I’m always pushing myself to be better.”

While Collins has set personal goals for himself – like a 1,000-yard season – he is equally as focused on making the Ravens backfield one of the best groups in the National Football League. 

“I expect that," Collins said on being the Ravens' starter.

"I would hope that all the other running backs expect [to be the starter] as well, and that’s what kind of drives our group – when we all know that we have that capability to be the No. 1 guy, and we’re out competing and push each other and try to be the best. No matter who’s out there during the game, you’ll see a productive play out of that person. So, I have that mindset. I want to be the guy. I have that fire in me, and I hope [that is] as well as the other running backs, as I encouraged them as well.”

Collins noted that he's coming into training camp a bit heavier. He added five pounds to his 200-pound frame "just to see how that feels," but is still maintaining the stamina and strength he's always had. 

Collins – who was one of several veterans released from practice early as the team begins to adjust their way into the extended preseason – finished his media availability with a friendly warning to fantasy football owners: "Draft me now before it’s too late, guys."