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Ravens hang on by thwarting Eagles' 'gutsy' 2-point call

Ravens hang on by thwarting Eagles' 'gutsy' 2-point call

Nothing comes easy for these flawed, 2016 Ravens, so of course they turned a 10-point lead against a struggling Eagles team into a white-knuckle finish.

Eagles rookie quarterback Carson Wentz scored on a 4-yard scramble with four seconds left to cut the Ravens lead to 27-26, and then rather than force overtime with an extra-point kick, the nothing-to-lose Eagles kept the offense on the field and went for the win with a two-point conversion try.

With the Ravens season hanging in the balance – the Ravens could ill afford to fall two games behind the Steelers with two to play – linebacker C.J. Mosley tipped Wentz’s two-point attempt at the line of scrimmage, and the quick slant intended for Jordan Matthews was also broken up by cornerback Jerraud Powers at the goal line.

“It was a gutsy call by the Eagles, a tribute to them,” Powers said. “We knew it was win or go home. We are playing playoff football now.”

The win keeps the Ravens (8-6) one game behind the Steelers (9-5) entering the Christmas Day showdown at Heinz Field.

Mosley said the Ravens came with an all-out blitz on the two-point play. “Even if I didn’t get a hand on the ball, J.P. did a great job covering,” he said. “He probably would have got his hand on the ball. So, I mean, we just executed.”

Eagles coach Doug Pederson said he had already made up his mind that if the Eagles scored in the closing seconds, they were going for two.

“I wanted to win the football game, and even our chances in overtime were less than 50 percent winning this game,” Pederson said. “As an underdog, going into the game, we were going to win the game in regulation.”

“The play call, the play design, everything was built for that situation,” Pederson added. “Credit them, they got a hand up and tipped the ball.”

The Eagles had already successfully run one two-point conversion earlier in the game, with Ryan Mathews diving over on a run. Mathews finished with 128 yards rushing, but he was not on the field on the final two-point play.

“Your chances with Carson throwing are a little better in that situation,” Pederson said.

The Ravens only found themselves in this predicament after doing their best to blow a 10-point lead thanks, in part, to what coach John Harbaugh called “an all-time worst” play call – a first-down pass by Flacco from the Eagles 11-yard line with the Ravens ahead 27-17 in the fourth quarter.

It was intercepted and returned 34 yards, which began an Eagles field goal drive. After the Ravens went three-and-out on three running plays as they tried unsuccessfully to burn the clock, the Eagles took over at their 41-yard line with 1:39 left, and Wentz engineered the final scoring drive.

On the final two-point play, Powers found himself lined up in the slot opposite Matthews, his offseason training partner in Alabama.

“We were bringing the house. We knew the ball was going to have to come out quick,” Powers said. “The easier throw is a slant, so in my head in the slot, I’m thinking I gotta make sure I guard the slant. … Jordan Matthews is their No. 1 target, their No. 1 receiver, so in my head, I kinda knew the ball was coming my way. I’m just happy I made the play.”

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Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti makes $1 million donation to local social justice reform programs

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti makes $1 million donation to local social justice reform programs

The Baltimore Ravens, along with the Steve and Renee Bisciotti Foundation, announced on Monday a $1 million joint-donation will be going to 28 local charities promoting racial equality. 

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti pledged to make this donation a week after George Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minnesota. 

The Ravens formed a committee with five players -- Justin Tucker, Morgan Cox, Marlon Humphrey, Matthew Judon and Ronnie Stanley -- and former wide receiver Torrey Smith in order to decide which Baltimore-area organizations would receive funding. 

“When you talk about social justice, there are many different issues -- from education, to criminal justice reform, to health," Smith said through a Ravens release. "There are so many avenues the players could have chosen, so they really spread it out among a lot of different grassroots organizations. This is just the beginning of trying to figure out as many ways to collaborate with the people in the city who are doing great things to help change Baltimore for the better."

For Stanley, his status as a professional athlete in America's biggest sporting league makes him 

“I’m passionate about this, knowing the position I’m in and how blessed I am to be in a position to help people. I’m not going to forget about the people who are dealing with things that aren’t fair. We have an opportunity to help make the world a better place, and I want to take advantage of that," Stanley said in the Ravens statement.

“There are so many places in society that racism has affected. It really starts with people’s mentalities and how they’ve been raised and taught," continued Stanley. "The biggest thing for me is educating people about their own misconceptions and stereotypes, helping them understand the root behind these stereotypes and why the black community is where it is today. It has everything to do with American history.”

For a full list of the 28 organizations receiving money, click here

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Lamar Jackson is only focused on one thing after his MVP season: Winning a Super Bowl

Lamar Jackson is only focused on one thing after his MVP season: Winning a Super Bowl

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson deserved every single one of the votes he earned a year ago when he was unanimously voted the NFL's Most Valuable Player.

Jackson electrified in 2019, leading the NFL in passing touchdowns with 36 while shattering the sport's single-season QB rushing yards record with over 1,200 yards on the ground. He led Baltimore to a 14-2 record and the top seed in the AFC before the Ravens were upset by the Tennessee Titans in the divisional round of the playoffs.

On an individual level, there's not much Jackson can do in 2020 to top his personal success in 2019. Well, it's a good thing the QB is not focused on his individual accolades.

Ravens tight end Mark Andrews -- Jackson's top target from 2019 -- spoke to local media on Monday and said that Jackson's only goal for an encore to his MVP season is leading Baltimore to a Super Bowl.

"His biggest goal is to win a Super Bowl. That's his biggest thing," Andrews said. 

RELATED: OPTING-OUT NEVER REALLY CROSSED MARK ANDREWS' MIND

After Jackson's remarkable 2019 campaign, it would be easy for the success he's had to get in his head. But according to Andrews, it's been nothing like that at all for the rising third-year QB.

"There's no superstardom coming from Lamar. Lamar is Lamar, and that's something that we all love about him," Andrew said. "That's something we can kind of relate to, that his head is not too big and it will never get too big, because he's down to earth."

While the Super Bowl is a lofty goal, it's a realistic one for Jackson and the Ravens. But for now, in August, left tackle Ronnie Stanley thinks Jackson should just focus on getting a little better each day, and the rest will work itself out in the long run.

"Just not try to make these tremendous leaps. Everyone kind of tries to put that pressure on you," Stanley said on advice for Jackson following his MVP season. "Just go in every day just trying to get a little bit better. Just keep that focus that, ‘I’m going to get better at this today.’ And just focus on that; not thinking every day that you have to be the perfect person or perfect player, because I feel like guys can get too ahead of themselves."

Entering the 2020 season, Jackson and the Ravens' disappointing performance in the playoffs is what many remembers from their 2019 season. The 14-2 record and overall regular season success are overshadowed by the early playoff exit.

That loss has stuck with Jackson, too, and it's motivated him this entire offseason.

"He's the best player I've ever been around, and he works hard," Andrews said. "So I think you're going to see an even more polished and even more ready Lamar than you saw last year. That sounds almost unbelievable, but the guy is incredible and he's a winner."

And while the expectations for Baltimore in 2020 are as high as they come, Andrews knows Jackson won't change his demeanor to try and accomplish them.

"Lamar is Lamar, man. He's never going to change who he is," Andrews said.

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