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29.09.2018 08:20
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CANTON Authentic David Perron Jersey , Ohio (AP) 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 Youth Darnell Nurse Jersey , 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 Viktor Arvidsson Jersey , 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 Melker Karlsson Jersey , a coach loves to see it.”

NEXT UP

Bears: At Cincinnati next Thursday night.

Ravens: Host Los Angeles Rams next Thursday night.




NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Titans coach Mike Vrabel believes Tennessee’s running back duo will be a problem for opponents.

The former linebacker refused to tip his hand when asked how he would defend Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis himself.

“I would have rather not tackled Derrick, and I would have rather not covered Dion” in the open field, said Vrabel, who played 14 years in the NFL.

Vrabel made it clear that how the Titans divvy up the workload between the running backs will depend on how coaches want to attack each opponent. The 2015 Heisman Trophy winner , Henry brings a bruising style while displaying speed in the open field. The 5-foot-8 Lewis is much smaller next to the 6-3 Henry but flits around in open space making defenders miss.

“Man, I thought he was gone that one that he caught, like he was skating,” Henry said of his new teammate. “But that’s Dion. That’s what he does: make people miss. He has quick feet and get him out in space he can be dangerous.”

As a first-year head coach, Vrabel and his new offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur have a pair of running backs that together could be the franchise’s best duo since Chris Johnson and LenDale White combined for 2,001 yards in 2008. That season the Titans started 10-0 and finished with a league-best 13-3 record. The Titans’ top two backs in 2009 combined for 2,287 yards with Johnson getting 2,006 himself.

Henry backed up DeMarco Murray the past two seasons, though he led the Titans with 744 yards rushing last year despite starting only two games. He showed off his speed with a 75-yard touchdown run while also taking a pass 66 yards for another TD.

Coming from Alabama where he left as the school’s all-time leading rusher, Henry also has been very much a team player. Looking at Lewis, Henry said he thinks they can be very good together.

“We’re two different styles of back like he’s quick, he has good wiggle Colton Parayko Jersey ,” Henry said. “He’s good out of the backfield catching the ball and I’m downhill physical so I think we complement each other well.”

The Titans signed Lewis to a four-year deal in March after seeing the running back up close in their divisional playoff loss to the Patriots. Lewis ran 15 times for 62 yards and caught nine passes for 79 yards helping New England rout the Titans. For his career, Lewis averages 4.8 yards per carry with 10 TDs rushing, and he has five more TDs averaging 8.1 yards per reception.

Lewis showed off just how elusive he can be in last weekend’s 30-14 exhibition loss to Tampa Bay. He caught both passes thrown to him, taking one 16 yards. Marcus Mariota said Lewis makes it easy on quarterbacks with his body language and how the running back executes his routes.

“It causes a lot of problems for the defense,” Mariota said. “Anytime you can have an advantage, you got to try exploit that as much as you can. Dion provides that for us, and you see once that guy gets the ball in his hands he’s tough to tackle. Any which way that we can find to get him the ball is going to be beneficial for us.”

The Titans hope this running back tandem provides a boost in both the run and pass game. Tennessee slumped to 15th last season with 109.7 yards rushing and ranked just 23rd averaging 224.4 yards passing per game.

Lewis knows exactly what he can do once he gets the ball in the open field.

“They brought me here to make plays in space and be the player I am, so whenever I get the opportunity to (do) that I just got to show my ability and be dependable,” Lewis said.

NOTES: The Titans made some roster moves, agreeing to terms with a trio of linebackers in Jeff Knox, Nyles Morgan and Deontae Skinner. They waived LB Brandon Chubb, LB Davond Dale and OL Matt Diaz.

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