Baltimore flying high

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Baltimore is a blue-collar city and former home to the NFL’s Colts and current Ravens.

Last Sunday at Nissan Stadium, the two-time Super Bowl champion Ravens blanked host Tennessee 21-0 behind a powerful and hard-hitting defense that finished with a franchise-best 11 sacks.

The Ravens lead the NFL in sacks with 26 and limited the Titans to seven first downs, 106 total net yards and just over 22 minutes in time of possession.

Baltimore had 23 first downs, finished with 361 total yards and held onto the ball for over 37 minutes.

“A historic defensive performance,” Baltimore Head Coach John Harbaugh said of the unit that came within one sack of the record.

Quarterback Joe Flacco wasn’t bad either, passing for 238 yards on 25 of 37 attempts with one interception.

Flacco’s four-yard pass to wide receiver Michael Crabtree (game-best 93 yards on six receptions) with 1:27 left in the first quarter made it 7-0.

“That was huge. We didn’t do that last week,” said Flacco of the first score.

Flacco, who directed the Ravens to a 34-31 Super Bowl win over the San Francisco 49ers in 2012, orchestrated a pair of seven minute scoring drives including the initial tally that covered 94 yards and consumed 17 plays.

A 52-yard, seven-play trek was capped with 11:56 left in the first half when running back Alex Collins (game-high 54 yards on 19 carries) raced into the end zone from 13 yards that made it 14-0.

Flacco, who was selected by Baltimore in the first round of the 2008 draft and 18th overall, moved the Ravens 78 yards on 12 plays with Collins scoring on a two-yard burst and 7:40 left in the third period.

This was Baltimore’s first series of the second half and became the fourth time in six games the team has scored.

From the outset, quarterback Marcus Mariota had problems marching the Titans’ offense down the field.

Mariota, a former Heisman Trophy winner at the University of Oregon in 2014, seemed hamstrung.

Mariota completed 10 of 15 passes for 117 yards and carried the ball twice for 25 yards.

It seemed Mariota was often running for his life and was sacked six times at the half.

The Ravens (4-2) added five sacks in the second half and was paced by linebacker Za’Darius Smith, who had three along with four tackles and one assist.

Tennessee (3-3) garnered 55 yards rushing with one-time Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry adding 21 on seven rushes.

Rick Assad has written about sports for the Pasadena Star-News and Los Angeles Times. Contact him at


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The Sports Department Rick Assad has written about sports for the Pasadena Star-News and Los Angeles Times. Contact him at

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