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The Big Twenty: The Ravens sent Ray Lewis off in style with an all-time legendary postseason run

The Big Twenty: The Ravens sent Ray Lewis off in style with an all-time legendary postseason run

The 2012 Ravens had been there before.

In 2010, it was blowing a two-touchdown lead in Pittsburgh. In 2011, it was a Lee Evans end zone drop coupled with a Billy Cundiff field goal miss in the final minute of the AFC Championship Game. Devastating finishes to 12-4 seasons.

Coming off the two most crushing postseason losses in franchise history, the 2012 Ravens knew they would be judged, and ultimately remembered, for what they did in January.

They would also be remembered for capping Ray Lewis’ Hall of Fame career. The longest-tenured Raven and last player remaining player from the 2000 Super Bowl team announced after the regular season he would retire after the playoffs.

The Ravens rallied behind their unquestioned leader, playing not just for a ring but to help Lewis go out on a high note. Almost immediately, it was clear this was a team of destiny.

Facing 3rd-and-3 from their own 30-yard line, down 35-28 with 41 seconds left in freezing Denver, the Ravens would not panic. Joe Flacco launched the Prayer in Thin Air, caught by a streaking Jacoby Jones for a 70-yard touchdown and overtime. 

The play is forever immortalized in Baltimore’s memory, the defining moment of an all-time postseason run. They would go on to win the game in double overtime, and the back-and-forth thriller is considered one of the NFL’s 100 greatest games ever.

It wasn’t the only game from these playoffs in the top 40 of the NFL’s greatest games list. You know it’s a memorable run when the Mile High Miracle isn’t even the highest-ranked game, and a postseason win against Tom Brady in Foxborough is barely remembered.

The Ravens capped off their magical season in New Orleans with the Blackout Bowl - or if you prefer, the Harbaugh Bowl. The 34-31 Ravens victory nearly featured a 49ers comeback for the ages, sparked by a second-half blackout in the Superdome.

It also featured brothers John and Jim Harbaugh competing for football’s ultimate prize as rival head coaches, an unprecedented angle to the Super Bowl matchup.

As the Super Bowl MVP, Joe Flacco enjoyed arguably the most impressive postseason run in NFL history. He became the first quarterback to throw for at least 1,100 yards, 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions in a postseason, in the process defeating both Brady and Peyton Manning, the two greatest quarterbacks of the era, in their own stadiums.

The Ravens entered the 2012 postseason having already experienced enough heartache for one lifetime. They left with elation that only comes with a legacy-defining performance, exorcised demons and the perfect retirement send-off for the greatest player in franchise history.

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Mark Ingram sees COVID-19 issues in MLB, preaches 'positive midset' for Ravens locker room

Mark Ingram sees COVID-19 issues in MLB, preaches 'positive midset' for Ravens locker room

Like most of us, Mark Ingram has taken notice of Major League Baseball's coronavirus problem. And much like the rest of his NFL peers, has to face the reality that the NFL's return-to-play plan is eerily similar to MLB's. 

So how can the NFL avoid outbreaks that may threaten the 2020 season? If you ask Ingram, it starts with positivity and simply following team protocols. 

"Yeah you see the [MLB] stuff, there’s cases, you try to stay positive," Ingram said. You try to stay with the protocols our team has set for us, and when you leave the facility, be safe as possible. Stay at home and take precautions that you’re not exposing yourself unnecessarily."

The Miami Marlins had 20 reported cases in their locker room following their first series of the 2020 season in Philadelphia. They're scheduled to play their first game on Tuesday against the Orioles, nine days after their last contest. In response, Commissioner Rob Manfred warned to shut down the season if teams didn't manage the coronavirus better moving forward. 

RELATED: INGRAM AND DOBBINS PREPARE FOR BACKFIELD COMPETITION

The NFL has an advantage in that games are only played once a week, but the challenges of preventing an outbreak will seemingly be greater given the nature of the game and its player-to-player physicality as well as the roster size for each team.

"You just try to have a positive mindset, and honestly we're aware of [MLB], we're cautious of it," Ingram said. "We're trying to do the best we can with the circumstances and stay hopeful."

NFL teams are already dealing with positive cases one week after the start of training camp. The Bills had to send their rookies home Thursday after five positive tests, while Eagles coach Doug Pederson tested positive Sunday. 

Based on what we've learned with MLB, players following health and safety protocols off the field will be critical for the NFL to successfully execute their 2020 campaign. They aren't in a bubble like the NBA and NHL, so the margin for error is smaller. Hopefully more players share Ingram's mindset on the situation. 

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Report: Ravens to sign former Texans and Saints tight end Jerell Adams

Report: Ravens to sign former Texans and Saints tight end Jerell Adams

The Ravens look like they have acquired the veteran tight end they've been looking for. 

Jerell Adams only registered snaps in one game for the New Orleans Saints last season, but Baltimore has been in the market for a veteran tight end presence to shore up the depth chart, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. 

The South Carolina product could provide blocking relief for the Purple and Black, as the Ravens traded Hayden Hurst to the Falcons for a couple of drafts picks back in March. 

The report comes just hours after ESPN's Josina Anderson reported Baltimore was looking to add another tight end, with former Washington TE Jordan Reed and Delanie Walker rumored to be options. 

Adams was selected with the 184th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft by the New York Giants before making a stop in Houston during his three-year career. 

Stay connected to the Ravens and Orioles with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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