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Robert Griffin III, Lamar Jackson make Ravens debuts in 17-16 win over Bears

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USA TODAY Sports

Robert Griffin III, Lamar Jackson make Ravens debuts in 17-16 win over Bears

CANTON, Ohio -- The goals were to let the backups play and learn, and to be inspired.

Missions accomplished.

The Ravens and Bears honored their great linebackers Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher with some defense to make them proud in the Hall of Fame game that opened the NFL's preseason Thursday night. Baltimore held on 17-16.

"Ray is the greatest linebacker of our time," said 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, who quarterbacked the second half for the Ravens. "That was a big thrill and exciting stuff."

Oh, there was a little spark of offense, some provided by Baltimore's first-round draft pick. Jackson's 7-yard touchdown pass to fellow first-rounder Hayden Hurst came after the Ravens' defense recovered a fumble.

Chicago put together its best drive in the final minutes and journeyman Tyler Bray connected with Tanner Gentry for a 10-yard score to cap a 92-yard march. But the 2-point conversion pass fell incomplete.

Otherwise, D was the letter of the day: there were six turnovers in all, and 12 sacks, eight by the Bears.

"To represent Ray in this game to our guys meant even more," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.

"It was a special moment for our organization," noted new Bears coach Matt Nagy.

The teams exchanged tipped interceptions on the first two possessions of the preseason.

Chicago moved swiftly downfield only to have Chase Daniel's pass to Josh Bellamy deflected to safety Chuck Clark at the Baltimore 6. He returned it 15 yards, then the Ravens replicated the turnover.

Robert Griffin III, attempting a comeback after sitting out 2017, had his pinpoint throw go off the hands of receiver Breshad Perriman, then off rookie cornerback Michael Joseph. DeAndre Houston-Carson dived to make the pick at the Ravens 34.

The Bears soon converted when Michael Burton caught a 4-yard scoring pass from Daniel.

Baltimore tied it, sparked by two big gainers by undrafted rookie running back Gus Edwards. Griffin found Maxx Williams for a 4-yard score.

"It felt great," Griffin said. "I can't tell you how grateful I am to play the game again."

Then Lewis' old unit gave him a thrill. On the next play from scrimmage, linebacker Kamalei Correa sped 19 yards with an interception to the Chicago 9. But Urlacher's former defense made him smile, sacking Griffin on third down to hold Baltimore to a 31-yard field goal by Kaare Vedvik.

Generally, it was a sloppy affair among backups marred by a slew of dropped passes, poor protection for the quarterbacks, and misthrows by those QBs.

But something Lewis and Urlacher would approve, the defenses hit hard and tackled well.

NEW COACH, OFFENSE

Nagy, of late the offensive coordinator in Kansas City, made his head coaching debut with the Bears. He has said his new offense is in the early steps of development, and it looked that way all night.

Of course, with backups playing it's nearly impossible to gauge progress. But he was optimistic.

"The arrow is pointing up for us," he said. "We definitely took steps in the right direction."

INTROS

Each of the seven inductees to the hall who were on hand -- Terrell Owens is a well-publicized no-show -- received a rousing ovation when they were introduced before the game. Lewis replicated his patented warmup dance for a few seconds, and Urlacher slapped hand with every Bears player lined up on the 45-yard line.

"Ray was on the field getting all fired up, doing his thing," Harbaugh said. "With both teams at the 45, I thought that was awesome, and then to see Ray come out, that was spectacular."

Urlacher gave a pregame pep talk to the Bears in the locker room.

"It's so funny to see," veteran defensive lineman Akiem Hicks said. "Growing up, you've watched these guys, and you're one of the guys now who people come up and ask for pictures and autographs. Then you see Urlacher come into the locker room and you get to see all these NFL football players turn into kids ...

"It's a phenomenal feeling."

Also walking along midfield between the lines of Ravens and Bears were Randy Moss, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Robert Brazile and Bobby Beathard.

Owens did make it onto the cover of the Hall of Fame enshrinement magazine, however.

At halftime, Hall of Famers Ozzie Newsome, the general manager of the Ravens, and Dan Fouts received their "Rings of Excellence" from David Baker, the hall's president.

HELMET RULE

The first application of the NFL's enhanced enforcement of penalties for players lowering their helmet to make a tackle occurred early. Ravens linebacker Patrick Onwuasor was flagged for his hit on Benny Cunningham, earning a 15-yard penalty that helped set up Chicago's first touchdown.

Correa got nailed for the same violation in the third quarter, but he also had a sack that forced a fumble in that period, and three sacks overall.

"It was great to see him break out," Harbaugh said of Correa's overall performance. "His work ethic and attention to detail, to see it pay off like that, a coach loves to see it."

NEXT UP

Bears: At Cincinnati next Thursday night.

Ravens: Host Los Angeles Rams next Thursday night.

MORE RAVENS NEWS:

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Ravens vs. Bears Hall of Fame Game: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

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Ravens vs. Bears Hall of Fame Game: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

The Ravens' preseason gets underway Thursday as they head to Canton, Ohio to play in the annual Hall of Fame Game vs. the Chicago Bears.

The extra preseason game comes as former linebacker Ray Lewis will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, August 4. On the Chicago Bears side, former linebacker Brian Urlacher awaits his enshrinement. 

Thursday's matchup will mark the first Hall of Fame Game appearance for the Ravens, while this will be the fifth time the Bears have played in the preseason classic dating all the way back to 1968. Chicago has gone 4-0 against the Dolphins ('05), Browns ('90), Jets ('77) and Cowboys ('68). 

The first preseason matchup of the season should create a lot of buzz considering it will be the first time we get to see Lamar Jackson in action as a Raven. Both clubs were allowed to start their training camps a week earlier than other NFL teams to begin getting acclimated to the grind of a longer camp. 

Ahead of Thursday's preseason matchup, here's everything you need to know to watch.

Ravens vs. Bears Hall of Fame Game:

Who: Baltimore Ravens vs. Chicago Bears

What: Hall of Fame Game

When: Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018, 8:00 p.m. ET

Where: Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton, Ohio

TV Channel: NBC

Live Stream: NBCSports.com, NBC Sports App

Radio: WBAL New Radio 1090 

Point Spread: Baltimore, -2.5

Over/Under: 33.5

Weather: 82 degrees, sunny

Preseason Schedule:

Week 1: Thurs., 8/9, vs. Los Angeles Rams. 7:30 p.m. 

Week 2: Mon., 8/20, at Indianapolis Colts (Monday Night Football, ESPN), 8:00 p.m. 

Week 3: Sat., 8/25 at Miami Dolphins, 7:00 p.m.

Week 4: Thurs., 8/30 vs. Washington Redskins, 7:30 p.m.

Ravens 2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Week 1: Sun., 9/9 vs. Bills, 1:00 p.m.

Week 2: Thur., 9/13 @ Bengals, 8:20 p.m.

Week 3: Sun., 9/23 vs. Broncos. 1:00 p.m.

Week 4: Sun., 9/30 @ Steelers, 8:20 p.m.

Week 5: Sun., 10/7 @ Browns, 1:00 p.m.

Week 6: Sun., 10/14 @ Titans, 4:25 p.m.

Week 7: Sun., 10/21 vs. Saints, 4:05 p.m.

Week 8: Sun., 10/28 @ Panthers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 9: Sun., 11/4 vs. Steelers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 10:  BYE week

Week 11: Sun., 11/18 vs. Bengals, 1:00 p.m.

Week 12: Sun., 11/25 vs. Raiders, 1:00 p.m.

Week 13: Sun., 12/2 @ Falcons, 1:00 p.m.

Week 14: Sun., 12/9 @ Chiefs, 1:00 p.m.

Week 15: Sun., 12/16 vs. Buccaneers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 16: Sat., 12/22 or Sunday 12/23 @ Chargers, TBD

Week 17: Sun., 12/30 vs. Browns, 1:00 p.m.

Redskins 2018 training camp news

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Ravens lose in OT after offensive struggles haunt team once again

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Ravens lose in OT after offensive struggles haunt team once again

BALTIMORE -- When the Chicago Bears weigh the good and bad facets of their performance against the Baltimore Ravens, it's likely they will come up with this conclusion:

Who cares? We won.

After blowing a 14-point lead, allowing two long kick returns and committing two turnovers, the Bears used a 40-yard field goal by Connor Barth in overtime to secure a 27-24 victory Sunday.

"You got to be able to take whatever situation you get and make something out of it," defensive end Akiem Hicks said. "I wanted to get a good W, go home and relax. The coming down to the wire thing is not my favorite style, but . however you get it, you just got to appreciate it."

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Jordan Howard ran for 167 yards, including a 53-yarder that set up the game-winning score for the Bears (2-4), whose two wins this season have come in overtime.

Howard's long run in OT put Chicago at the Baltimore 40. After rookie Mitchell Trubisky completed an 18-yard pass to Kendall Wright, Barth delivered the decisive kick.

"It wasn't always perfect -- it seldom is -- but we're just happy to get out of here with a win," Bears coach John Fox said.

Making his first career start on the road, Trubisky directed a conservative game plan that leaned heavily on the run. The first-round draft pick completed 8 of 16 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown.

"We took what the defense gave us," the rookie said. "The run game was working, so let's keep pounding the rock."

RELATED: RAY LEWIS NOMINATED FOR 2018 PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS

Howard had 36 carries and the Bears gained 231 yards on 54 attempts.

"Whatever it takes to win," Fox stressed. "This week, we had to run the ball -- and we did."

Baltimore (3-3) trailed 17-3 in the third quarter and 24-16 late in regulation before capitalizing on special teams play to get back in the game.

Bobby Rainey took a kickoff 96 yards for a score to begin the comeback and Michael Campanaro brought back a punt 77 yards for a touchdown with 1:37 remaining. The 2-point conversion was successful , setting up overtime.

"Those two special teams touchdowns were huge," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.

The Ravens weren't the only ones to capitalize on big plays. Chicago used a halfback pass from Tarik Cohen to Zach Miller for a first-half score, and Adrian Amos returned an interception 90 yards for a touchdown for a 24-13 lead with 5:08 left.

Baltimore was in position for the go-ahead score when Amos got his first career interception on a pass that bounced off the chest of receiver Chris Moore, who was covered tightly by Kyle Fuller.

Chicago forced three turnovers and frustrated quarterback Joe Flacco throughout the afternoon. Operating without injured receivers Jeremy Maclin (inactive) and Breshad Perriman (second-quarter concussion), Flacco went 24 for 41 for 180 yards with two interceptions.

Trubisky put Chicago ahead 17-3 in the third quarter with an on-the-run, 27-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dion Sims, who outfought Tony Jefferson for the ball in the end zone.

That put the Ravens in a precarious position, especially with a struggling offense.

Rainey alleviated the pressure by taking the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown. After being tripped by a teammate, Rainey popped to his feet, broke right and went the distance.

Campanaro did his part later, but it wasn't enough.

"Sometimes your special teams kick in and score two touchdowns, which is great," tight end Benjamin Watson said. "But Chicago did a better job of closing than we did."

The Ravens were coming off a 30-17 win in Oakland in which they did not commit a turnover, didn't allow a sack and were penalized only once.

In this one, Baltimore gave the ball away twice, permitted two sacks and was flagged five times -- in the first half.