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Fans mob Baltimore streets to celebrate Ravens win

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Fans mob Baltimore streets to celebrate Ravens win

BALTIMORE (AP) Hundreds of giddy Ravens fans poured into the streets Sunday night, whooping, hollering and high-fiving complete strangers as they celebrated the team's 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.

On the far opposite coast, however, a spirit of hope and anticipation rapidly faded into sullen disappointment as dejected 49ers fans tried to absorb their team's loss.

In the East, Patrons who packed into Mother's Federal Hill Grille in Baltimore to watch the Ravens' second Super Bowl appearance since the team arrived in the city in 1996 jumped up onto the bar and began belting out a rendition of the Queen song ``We are the champions.''

Bartenders sprayed purple party string into the air.

``I love this team. I love this city!'' screamed Andrew Bieler, 21, shortly after the game ended.

Ashlee Tuck, 28, shouted ``Yes!'' and alternated between kissing her boyfriend and dancing as fans streamed out of the bar.

Michael Falls, 25, said he plans to take Monday off from his accounting job and his boss was going to do the same.

``I'm going to live up the night,'' he said.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake joined in the fun, dancing and singing alongside the fans.

``The Baltimore Ravens once again demonstrated strength, poise, and perseverance as they prevailed in Super Bowl XLVII,'' Rawlings-Blake said in a statement.

In a live interview from New Orleans on WBAL-TV, Rawlings-Blake said the city will hold a parade in the team's honor on Tuesday that will start at City Hall and end at the Ravens' stadium. She urged fans to celebrate peacefully, while local television footage showed police mounted on horseback circling the crowds to maintain order.

Fans came decked out in purple for the game, many arriving at bars hours early. Women arrived with their nails painted purple. Men wore purple Mardi Gras beads. There were purple-feathered boas; purple, black and white camouflage pants; and a sea of purple and black jerseys.

It seemed no jersey was more popular than that of retiring middle linebacker Ray Lewis, No. 52. And whether they were wearing his number or not, fans said they wanted to win for Lewis, the only current player who started with the team when it came to Baltimore in 1996.

``We have to do it for Ray. It's not all about Ray. It's 90 percent for Ray, 10 percent for the city of Baltimore,'' said Darren Love, 40, an off-duty police officer clad in zip-up pajamas with the Ravens' logo in addition to a purple wig.

Fans at Pickles Pub, mere blocks from the Ravens' M&T Bank Stadium, cheered when Lewis was shown on television at the start of the game. And the cheers continued when the team scored the first touchdown. The Ravens never trailed.

Chrissy Ramirez, 22, a first-grade teacher, was one of the fans who emptied out onto South Charles Street in the Federal Hill neighborhood after the win. Ramirez, who was wearing the No. 5 jersey of Ravens' quarterback Joe Flacco, Ravens earrings, and a hat shaped like a Raven head, said she was overwhelmed by the victory. She said she planned to ``be ecstatic the rest of the week.''

Ecstatic was the opposite of how fans felt in San Francisco's Mission Hill district, where fans stumbled dejectedly into the streets after their team's loss.

``Damn, that's all I have to say,'' said Niners fan David Mejia, 32.

As the game drew to an end, dozens of police officers and sheriff's deputies - in patrol cars and on foot, motorcycle, and horseback - fanned out on both sides of the country to watch for signs of trouble, but neither city reported any serious problems.

``Most of the crowds are dissipating,'' Baltimore Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi (pronounced Goo-YELL-me) said shortly after midnight. Guglielmi said the crowds grew to several thousand before people slowly started to peel off and head home.

The streets in the Golden Gate city also were relatively calm Sunday night, unlike after the San Francisco Giants' World Series victory in late October, when a city bus was set ablaze, cars were overturned and bonfires erupted in trash containers and on the streets. About three dozen people were arrested following that victory.

``Citywide, everything seemed to be pretty good'' Sunday night, Officer Carlos Manfredi said. ``We did have a couple of flare-ups in the Mission District, but otherwise everyone seemed to be behaving themselves.''

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Associated Press writer John S. Marshall in San Francisco contributed to this report.

Follow Jessica Gresko athttp://twitter.com/jessicagresko

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Flacco-Mornhinweg meeting helps Ravens unleash offense

Flacco-Mornhinweg meeting helps Ravens unleash offense

BALTIMORE – A few days after the Ravens’ quarterback and offensive coordinator had a meeting of the minds, the team responded with its best offensive performance of the season.

Joe Flacco felt the Ravens got too conservative against the Bengals in Week 12, and told Marty Mornhinweg. The Ravens’ offensive coordinator said he hated being called conservative, and responded with an aggressive game plan that had the Dolphins on their heels in a 38-6 blowout win by the Ravens.

When it was over, Flacco had completed a franchise-record 36 passes, including four touchdown passes.  Flacco (36 for 47, 381 yards, four touchdowns, one interception) was happy. All the Ravens were happy. And perhaps Flacco and Morninweg had finally unlocked the key to finding how their offense operates best.

“One thing Marty has never been accused of is being conservative – that’s not a label he takes too kindly to, as Joe can probably attest,” said Ravens coach John Harbaugh. “They had a little back-and-forth in one of the quarterback meetings – that was fun to watch. I heard about it; I didn’t actually witness it. But that’s what I think. Iron sharpens iron. We challenge each other, and everybody is able to do it in a way that makes each other better.”

This has been a difficult season for the Ravens’ offense.  Even with the change from Marc Trestman to Mornhinweg as offensive coordinator following Week 5, the Ravens struggled to find offensive consistency.

But against the Dolphins, the Ravens were explosive. Asked about the meeting with Mornhinweg, Flacco downplayed it, but he loved the results.

“It was a good conversation,” Flacco said. “It was all fun. It was a pretty fun conversation. It came down to the fact that I don’t think we were able to finish Cincinnati off last week like I really would have wanted to.”

The Ravens definitely finished off the Dolphins. Maybe Flacco should call Mornhinweg conservative every week if the Ravens respond like this.

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Dennis Pitta relieved his production finally paid off with two touchdowns

Dennis Pitta relieved his production finally paid off with two touchdowns

Dennis Pitta insists Sunday’s game wasn’t some kind of breakout game for him, but the tight end scored his first two touchdowns of the 2016 season and further advanced the story of his impressive comeback from two major hip injuries.

Pitta had nine catches for 90 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday in the Ravens’ 38-6 rout of the Dolphins, by far the Ravens most complete effort of the season.

Pitta had scored just one touchdown in the previous three seasons – all of which were either partially or completely lost to a twice-dislocated hip.

His return to the team this year was very much in doubt even into training camp, when the Ravens appeared deep at the position with Ben Watson, Crockett Gillmore, Maxx Williams, Nick Boyle and Darren Waller.

But injuries or suspensions have sidelined all five of those players for extended periods, and Pitta – who played in just seven games over the previous three seasons – has emerged as the Ravens No. 1 tight end once again, just as he was during the Super Bowl run in 2012.

RELATED: FIVE OBSERVATIONS FROM RAVENS' BIG WIN OVER DOLPHINS

He leads the team with 61 receptions, which equals a career high he set in 2012.

“Yes, I had a couple touchdowns today, but I feel like I have been producing all season,” Pitta said. “I don’t think after a game like this I say, ‘Oh, I’m back.’ I feel like I have been back since Week 1.”

Until Sunday, though, he had not reached the end zone since Dec. 8, 2013.

“You always want to get into the end zone,” he said. “You go into every game thinking, ‘I want to be able to score a touchdown and help our team win.’ … The last couple weeks we have made our kicker look way too good (by) not getting red zone opportunities. Finally we got down there and we took advantage … and a couple of them came my way.”

Quarterback Joe Flacco, who set a franchise record with 36 completions and torched the Dolphins for 381 yards and four touchdowns, called Pitta “a special football player. Obviously, he’s been through a lot and he’s put a lot of work in.”

Flacco, one of Pitta’s closest friends on the team, said with a grin that he really doesn’t know what Pitta has been through in recovering from two major hip injuries, but he added, “I don’t care what he’s been through. I just want him on the field.”

RELATED: FLACCO-MORNHINWEG MEETING HELPS RAVENS UNLEASH OFFENSE