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Ravens-Patriots Instant Analysis


Ravens-Patriots Instant Analysis

Ravens 31, Patriots 30

It was a chip shot for Justin Tucker, only 27 yards, but unlike the last time Baltimore was in this position against New England, the kick was good -- barely.

Tucker, a rookie who beat out then-kicker Billy Cundiff for the job, capped a nine-point comeback in the fourth quarter to win the game. The ball sneaked inside the right upright.

The Ravens now have won 12 in a row at M&T Bank Stadium, the longest active in the NFL, and have won 20 of their last 21 at home.

In last season's AFC championship game, Cundiff missed a 32-yard field goal that would've sent that game into overtime. Instead, the Patriots won 23-20 and advanced to the Super Bowl.

The Ravens played from behind all night but beat the Patriots in the regular season for the first time in franchise history.

It was an especially emotional night for Ravens receiver Torrey Smith, who rejoined the team Sunday after his younger brother died in a motorcycle accident in Virginia earlier in the morning.

Quarterback Joe Flacco, who threw a first-quarter interception that led the Patriots' first touchdown, found Smith with 9:45 left in the second for a 25-yard score. At that time, the Ravens' offense still was struggling much like it did one week ago in a 24-23 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Smith flew past Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington and actually had to wait on the pass as he jumped, secured it and then went to one knee to undoubtedly remember Tevin Chris Jones, his 19-year-old deceased brother.

Smith made a 32-yard catch that put the ball on New England's 7, and Ray Rice exploded up the middle for a touchdown on the next play.

The Ravens ran the ball mostly on first and second downs -- and even on a crucial fourth-and-1 in the fourth quarter that failed.

The hurry-up offense that produced 37 points in the opening game finally found its rhythm in this comeback.

Rice was used to set up the pass as Flacco had his best game of the season, going 28-for-39 for 382 yards and three touchdowns for a 117.7 rating.

Rice had 101 yards on 20 carries and five catches for 49 yards.

Player of the game: Smith, who only had four catches in the first two games, had his best outing so far under dire circumstances. Smith finished with six catches for 127 yards and two touchdowns.

The turning point: With the Patriots driving in Ravens territory, LB Dannell Ellerbe and NT Haloti Ngata sacked Tom Brady for a seven-yard loss to set up the winning drive.

Highlights: After allowing Eagles TE Brent Celek to have a career game last week, Pats TE Rob Gronkowski was held to a modest two catches for 21 yards. The run defense was solid for the second game in a row, holding the Pats to 77 yards on 34 carries. TE Dennis Pitta had a spectacular 20-yard TD catch, hurdling S Steve Gregory to give the Ravens their first lead at 14-13. Wes Welker made a 59-yard catch but was chopped down by Bernard Pollard, and a few plays later Ed Reed disconnected Julian Edelman for what appeared to be a sure touchdown as New New England settled for a field goal.

Lowlights: It's not that Flacco threw an interception but how. He locked in on Dennis Pitta, who he targeted 15 times last week, and Gregory returned the ball to the Ravens' 6 to set up their first TD. Two defensive penalties, on Ellerbe and Cary Williams, allowed the Patriots to travel 81 yards in 1:45 as Brady threw a seven-yard TD pass to Edelman to give his team a 20-14 lead going into halftime. Pollard is called for hitting Pats G Logan Mankins after the play leading to a 15-yard penalty that moved the ball to Baltimore's 21. The Pats would score on a 3-yard TD run by Danny Woodhead to make it 27-21 Williams was exploited by Brady-to-Brandon Lloyd. Lloyd finished with nine catches for 108 yards. ... On a third-and-3 as the Pats moved into Ravens territory, Reed was called for a blow to the head of Deion Branch that led to an automatic first down. That set up a field goal as the Ravens trailed 30-21 in the fourth quarter. ...Trailing 30-21 in the fourth quarter and on the Patriots' 33, the Ravens went for it on fourth-and-1 as rookie Bernard Pierce got the call. He was dropped for a loss as the offensive lined failed to get any push. Most notable was Bryant McKinnie, who lost his starting job at left tackle. He entered the game for the play and failed to make a block on anyone.

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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."