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RG3 hurts knee, but Skins beat Ravens 31-28 in OT

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RG3 hurts knee, but Skins beat Ravens 31-28 in OT

LANDOVER, Md. (AP) This, of course, is the sort of thing everyone associated with - and rooting for - the Washington Redskins worries about: Robert Griffin III limping to the sideline after a knee-spraining hit.

With the Redskins driving while trailing the Baltimore Ravens late in the fourth quarter of a game Washington would wind up winning 31-28 in overtime Sunday, Griffin was slow to rise after being tackled at the end of a 13-yard scramble.

``I screamed. Like a man, of course,'' Griffin said with a laugh, before acknowledging: ``It hurt really bad.''

He left for one play, then returned for four more. But by then, the No. 2 overall pick in this year's NFL draft was hopping on his left leg, keeping all weight off his injured right one. Eventually, Griffin knelt on the turf, unable to continue.

``I knew I needed to get out at that point,'' said last year's Heisman Trophy winner, who had an MRI exam later Sunday that didn't show significant ligament damage. ``I couldn't move. At some point, you have to do what's right for the team. And if I'm playing the rest of that game, I probably would have hurt myself even more.''

Said Redskins coach Mike Shanahan: ``I could see that he was hurting the second time he came out. You could see his face.''

So whatever euphoria the Redskins (7-6) and their fans might have been feeling following a fourth consecutive victory was mixed with concern about the sight of the man they call RG3 hobbling around on the sideline with a thick, black brace on his right knee as Kai Forbath kicked a 34-yard field goal to end the game.

``We're happy that we won, obviously,'' left tackle Trent Williams said. ``But that is concerning, knowing he went down. Everyone wants to know how he's doing.''

About three hours after the game, an answer arrived: Team spokesman Tony Wyllie said the MRI showed that while Griffin sprained his knee, ``everything is clear'' in terms of a major knee injury. Wyllie specifically ruled out a season-ending ACL tear, such as the one Griffin had on the same knee while playing in college at Baylor in 2009.

Still, because a sprained knee, by definition, means at least one of the several ligaments is damaged in some way, it's not clear what Griffin's status for next week at the Cleveland Browns will be.

``Everybody's praying for me. I feel pretty good right now about the whole situation,'' said Griffin, who left a game earlier this season because of a concussion.

With Griffin done for the day, and Baltimore - now 9-4 after its first consecutive losses since early in the 2009 season - leading 28-20, fellow rookie QB Kirk Cousins stepped in. Cousins, a fourth-round pick who only played in one other game this season, threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon with 29 seconds remaining in regulation, then ran a quarterback draw for the tying 2-point conversion.

``He's ice. Like they used to say about Larry Bird, he got ice water in his veins. That's the best thing you can say about Kirk,'' receiver Joshua Morgan said.

Griffin heard the call for Cousin's draw through his headphones while getting treatment on the sideline.

``It was awesome,'' said Griffin, who was 15 for 26 for 246 yards and a touchdown pass, along with 34 yards on seven carries, adding to his single-season record for rushing by a rookie quarterback.

Ravens safety Ed Reed said his defense was ready for that 2-point play, actually, but ``we didn't execute.''

The Ravens got the ball first in overtime but went three-and-out. Yet another Redskins rookie, Richard Crawford, returned the punt 64 yards to set up Forbath, who is now 14 for 14 to start his NFL career; each got a game ball from Shanahan.

While Washington remained one game behind the New York Giants (8-5) in the race for the NFC East title, the Ravens wasted a chance to clinch the AFC North - and even missed out on an opportunity to assure themselves of a playoff berth.

Joe Flacco completed 16 of 21 passes for 182 yards and three first-half TD passes that built a 21-14 lead. But Baltimore's first four drives of the second ended with Flacco's fumble, his interception deep in Washington's territory, and two three-and-outs.

``As a leader on this team I like to finish teams out,'' said Ray Rice, who finished with 121 yards on 20 carries but picked up a left hip pointer. ``I don't want to be known as, `Yeah, we get them close in the fourth quarter, and the Ravens are going to give it away.' That's never been us. That's not going to be us.''

Rice's 7-yard touchdown run with 4:47 to play in the fourth quarter put the Ravens up by eight points, before Griffin started the trying drive - and Cousins finished it.

Forbath's winning kick prompted a wild on-field celebration by many Redskins. Not Griffin, though. He gingerly walked toward the locker room, a brace on his knee, and flashed a thumb's up to raucous spectators in the stands.

Later, around the Redskins announced the results of his good-news MRI, Griffin tweeted: ``Your positive vibes and prayers worked people!!!!''

NOTES: Cousins completed both passes he threw. ... Ravens RG Marshal Yanda sprained his right ankle and was wearing a black walking boot on that foot in the locker room. Other injuries for Baltimore: LB Jameel McClain had a neck injury, but X-rays were negative. ... Washington's 186 yards were the most by any NFL team in the first quarter this season and the most by the franchise in that quarter since 1997. ... The Redskins hadn't won four games in a row since 2008.

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Connect with Howard Fendrich on Twitter athttp://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

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Three reasons why it made sense for Ravens to add LT Long

Three reasons why it made sense for Ravens to add LT Long

Jake Long was once a premier left tackle in the NFL, but he is projected to be Ronnie Stanley’s backup after agreeing to a one-year deal with the Ravens.

Here are three reasons why the Ravens felt they needed to sign Long, who will join the team for Thursday’s first full-team practice pending the outcome of his physical:

1. The Ravens needed insurance in case Stanley is injured or struggles.

Early reviews on Stanley have been good. But we’ll learn more about Stanley as he faces veterans on a consistent basis during training camp and the preseason.

The Ravens relied on James Hurst as their backup left tackle the past two seasons, but they wanted more security. Even after recent knee injuries, Long is simply more talented than Hurst.

2. Long can be a veteran mentor for Stanley.

As the first overall pick in the 2008 draft, Long knows the pressure and expectations Stanley is dealing with. When Stanley has questions, Long will be a go-to guy.

3. With quarterback Joe Flacco returning from a serious knee injury, the Ravens can’t take chances protecting his blindside.

If Flacco suffers another season-ending injury, all the talent upgrades they made this offseason won’t matter.

There’s a chance Flacco’s mobility may be hindered, especially early in the season. Adding Long makes the Ravens feel more confident about keeping Flacco healthy.

RELATED: FIVE QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE TRAINING CAMP STARTS

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Five questions to ask as Ravens open training camp

Five questions to ask as Ravens open training camp

Veterans report to Ravens training camp Wednesday, with the first full-squad practice Thursday morning. Here are five questions to ask as the Ravens try to bounce back from a 5-11 season.

1. Does the influx of new talent make the Ravens playoff contenders again?

The Ravens were more aggressive early in free agency than usual, signing safety Eric Weddle, wide receiver Mike Wallace, and tight end Ben Watson. Then they loaded up on young talent with 11 draft picks, including left tackle Ronnie Stanley who is expected to start, linebacker Kamalei Correa who should see significant playing time, and running back Kenneth Dixon who has intriguing potential. The Ravens are a better football team, but I still question if they’re good enough to make the playoffs.  In order to make the postseason, the Ravens simply must get significant contributions from a host of new players.  

2. Is quarterback Joe Flacco ready to have a stellar season coming off knee surgery?

It’s a great sign that Flacco is ready for camp. His reps may be monitored early in camp and his preseason playing time figures to be limited. But when the regular season begins, the Ravens will need Flacco to have a solid season, maybe his best for the Ravens to make the playoffs. If Flacco has any lingering doubt about how his knee will hold up, those doubts need to be erased between now and Week 1.

3. How will key players on PUP perform once they return?

Four players currently on the PUP list are expected to play crucial roles – wide receivers Steve Smith Sr. and Breshad Perriman, and linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil. Smith is 37 years old, Suggs is 33, Dumervil is 32, and Perriman has yet to play an NFL down due to knee injuries. The Ravens’ playoff prospects are better if they can squeeze another quality year out of their injured vets, and if Perriman finally plays.

4. Who starts at inside linebacker next to C. J. Mosley?

That could be the biggest question mark in the starting lineup. The Ravens are deep at running back and tight end, so who starts doesn’t matter as much. But the release of veteran Daryl Smith, now with the Buccaneers, leaves a void at inside linebacker. Zach Orr has the inside track to start, Arthur Brown is getting one more chance, and Correa could be moved inside. But if none of those players rise up, general manager Ozzie Newsome could be forced to sign a veteran.

5. How will the new-look left side of the offensive line gel?

Stanley is a rookie left tackle. They’ll be a new starter at left guard, as John Urschel, Ryan Jensen, and perhaps rookie Alex Lewis battle to replace Kelechi Osemele, who was lost to the Raiders in free agency. It’s not surprising the Ravens felt they needed to sign veteran left tackle Jake Long as insurance.  To protect Flacco and run the ball effectively, the new-look left side of the offensive line must play well.

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Report: Boldin to sign with Lions

Report: Boldin to sign with Lions

Former Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin is back for a 14th season.

Boldin, who turns 36 in October, will sign a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. In Detroit, Boldin will be reunited with Lions coach Jim Caldwell, who became the Ravens offensive coordinator during their run to the Super Bowl in the 2012 season.

The Lions had a major void at wide receiver with All-Pro Calvin Johnson's retirement.

RELATED: RAVENS AGREE TO ONE-YEAR DEAL WITH OL JAKE LONG

A former second-round draft pick, Boldin spent seven seasons with the Cardinals before the Ravens traded for him in 2010. In three seasons with the Ravens, Boldin averaged 62 catches and 882 yards. He came up huge in the 2012 playoff run, with a team-best 22 catches for 380 yards and four touchdowns. He had six catches for 104 yards and a touchdown in the Super Bowl win over the 49ers.

After that Super Bowl run, though, Boldin was traded to the 49ers for a sixth-round draft pick. Boldin led the 49ers in catches and receiving yards in each of the past three years. He had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons with the 49ers in 2013 and 2014, leading many to question the Ravens decision to trade him. Last season, Boldin led the 49ers with 69 catches for 789 yards.

Boldin enters this season ranked 17th in NFL history with 13,195 receiving yards. One of the few players ahead of him is current Ravens receiver Steve Smith Sr., who ranks 11th (13,392). Boldin last season became the 13th player in NFL history with 1,000 career receptions and now has 1,009. Smith, incidentally, needs 39 catches this season join Boldin in the 1,000-catch club.

MORE RAVENS: RETURNING PUNTS KEY FOR 3 RAVENS WR'S ON BUBBLE