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FFL: Preseason | NFL: Week 1

Ravens pile up team-record 11 sacks, shut out Titans 21-0

Sun Oct 14 7:44pm ET
By TERESA M. WALKER
AP Pro Football Writer

Players: Joe Flacco, Michael Crabtree, Marcus Mariota, Gus Edwards, Alex Collins

Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) is sacked by Baltimore Ravens linebacker Patrick Onwuasor for a 7-yard loss in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)


Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) passes as he is pressured by Tennessee Titans safety Kevin Byard (31) in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)


A pass intended for Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Willie Snead IV (83) bounces up in the air as Tennessee Titans safety Kevin Byard (31) moves in to intercept it in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/James Kenney)


Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) recovers the ball after it was knocked loose by Baltimore Ravens linebacker Za'Darius Smith (90) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/James Kenney)


Baltimore Ravens wide receiver John Brown catches a pass as he is defended by Tennessee Titans' Adoree' Jackson (25) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/James Kenney)


Baltimore Ravens linebacker Za'Darius Smith (90) celebrates after sacking Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota and forcing a fumble in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. The Titans recovered the ball on the play. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)


Baltimore Ravens running back Alex Collins (34) is picked up by guard Marshal Yanda after Collins scored a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/James Kenney)


Baltimore Ravens running back Alex Collins (34) scores a touchdown as he is hit by Tennessee Titans cornerback Logan Ryan (26) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/James Kenney)


Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Michael Crabtree (15) catches a touchdown pass as he is defended by Tennessee Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)


Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) is sacked by Baltimore Ravens defensive end Chris Wormley (93) for a 6-yard loss in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Baltimore Ravens have finished up their longest road swing of the season with an absolutely dominating performance.

Try 11 sacks.

And now they head home for four of their next five games.

The Ravens piled up the franchise-record sacks as they shut out the Tennessee Titans 21-0 Sunday in the rain. Za'Darious Smith had three sacks and Patrick Onwuasor had two for the Ravens (4-2), who had six sacks by halftime. They finished a sack off the NFL record for a game shared by five teams.

Dean Pees and the Titans simply couldn't stop his old team as the Ravens outgained Tennessee 361-106 and punted only once against a defense led by their former defensive coordinator. Pees came out of a short retirement to join first-year head coach Mike Vrabel.

Joe Flacco threw for 238 yards and a touchdown for Baltimore. Alex Collins scored on TD runs of 13 and 2 yards.

The Titans (3-3) lost their second straight and were shut out at home for the first time since moving into Nissan Stadium in 1999. Tennessee has not scored a touchdown in eight straight quarters. The Ravens couldn't have looked much better handing Tennessee its first shutout since Nov. 28, 2010.

Marcus Mariota tried playing both with and without the partial glove covering his ring and pinkie fingers on his throwing hand. It didn't' help as Mariota was sacked the most in his four-year NFL career and most allowed by the Titans since giving up seven in a loss at Houston on Nov. 1, 2015. Coach Ken Whisenhunt was fired two days later.

The Titans forced a turnover with All-Pro safety Kevin Byard getting his first interception this season. Tennessee did nothing with the ball late in the first half.

Baltimore executed nearly flawlessly from winning the coin toss. The Ravens converted 12 of 17 third downs, not counting another off a Titans penalty. They also held the ball for more than 37 minutes.

Flacco drove Baltimore 94 yards over 17 plays, eating up more than nine minutes of the first quarter before hitting Michael Crabtree on a 4-yard TD. Collins capped their next drive with a 13-yard run and a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter. After halftime, Collins finished off a 78-yard drive that ate up 7:20 of the third quarter.

INJURIES

Ravens left guard Alex Lewis was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center with a neck injury after being hurt within the first minute of the fourth quarter. Lewis had been blocking on a run by Gus Edwards when he turned away from the pile slowly and went down. Trainers strapped him to a backboard and carted him off the field.

Titans linebacker Derrick Morgan hurt a shoulder and did not return. Left guard Quinton Spain hurt his right shoulder with 6:51 left in the third quarter and did not return.

UP NEXT

Ravens: Finally back home hosting New Orleans.

Titans: Franchise's first game in London as road team against the Chargers.

Player Notes
Damon Harrison Mar 26 1:10am ET

Detroit Lions defensive tackle Damon Harrison switched agents in the offseason and has already approached the team about signing a new deal, according to a source. The 30-year-old still has two years remaining on his current deal. He'll make $6.75 million in base salary in 2019 and $9 million in 2020 and has workout bonuses of $250,000 for both seasons. Detroit gave up a fifth-round pick for Harrison last year. He stopped the run 30 times in 10 games for the Lions and also added 3.5 sacks and ranked as the third best defensive tackle in the league. Harrison is an excellent run stopper, but that doesn't translate all that well to IDP value.

From RotoBaller

D'Onta Foreman Mar 26 1:00am ET

Houston Texans running back D'Onta Foreman looks to be much leaner than he was in his first two NFL seasons and looked quick and explosive during an impromptu workout on Sunday. Foreman rushed the ball seven times for negative-one yard in his only game in 2018 that was mainly spent rehabbing an Achilles rupture. He adopted a demanding exercise program and a healthier diet this offseason. The 22-year-old is determined to put 2018 behind him and contribute for Houston this season. He rushed for 327 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie in 2017 and could surpass Lamar Miller as the lead back in 2019 if he's fully healthy. Foreman could be an excellent sleeper target in point-per-reception leagues if he proves his health throughout the offseason.

From RotoBaller

Neal Sterling Mar 26 1:00am ET

The New York Jets re-signed tight end Neal Sterling and outside linebacker Brandon Copeland to undisclosed deals on Monday Sterling has been with the Jets the last two seasons but has primarily been a backup on offense while also playing special teams. He had six catches for 47 yards in five games last year but had his season cut short by a concussion in November. Unless an injury occurs, Sterling won't be fantasy relevant in 2019.

From RotoBaller

Larry Fitzgerald Mar 26 12:20am ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht believes wide receiver Chris Godwin can play inside in the slot much like Larry Fitzgerald did for head coach Bruce Arians in their time together in Arizona. "I'm not saying he's Larry Fitzgerald by any means yet, but play the role like Larry did in Arizona. That made (Humphries) a little easier to swallow," Licht said. With Adam Humphries going to Tennessee and DeSean Jackson being traded to Philadelphia, Godwin has a clear path to more targets in Arians' new offense. Godwin will be a popular breakout candidate after catching 59 passes for 842 yards and seven touchdowns in his second season in 2018.

From RotoBaller

Jameis Winston Mar 26 12:20am ET

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are expected to sign free-agent quarterback Blaine Gabbert as Jameis Winston's backup. Gabbert played under head coach Bruce Arians and quarterbacks coach Byron Leftwich in Arizona in 2017. The 29-year-old played in eight games for the Titans last year and had 624 yards passing, four touchdowns and four interceptions. He's a veteran backup option, having played in the NFL for eight seasons and four different teams.

From RotoBaller

Jerick McKinnon Mar 26 12:10am ET

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch said that running back Jerick McKinnon fits into the team's plans for the 2019 season. McKinnon missed all of his first year in San Francisco after getting injured in the preseason. Now he'll have to fight for touches with Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida, which will make it very tough for him to carve out fantasy value. McKinnon was a popular breakout candidate going into last year's drafts, but he ended up being an early-round bust.

From RotoBaller

Jay Ajayi Mar 26 12:10am ET

Drew Rosenhaus, the agent for free-agent running back Jay Ajayi (knee), expects his client to be ready for the start of the season. Ajayi's visit with the Indianapolis Colts last week went well, but he's also still in discussions to return to the Philadelphia Eagles. Ajayi might not even be ready for all of training camp, so his health will determine whether a team takes a chance on him for 2019. The 25-year-old has game-breaking ability in the backfield, but he has never played in a full season and will probably be a fantasy afterthought in 2019, depending on where he lands.

From RotoBaller

Carson Wentz Mar 26 12:00am ET

Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said that the team "wants to sign" quarterback Carson Wentz to a contract extension. Wentz is undeniably a franchise QB at just 26 years old, but he's ended the last two seasons injured and played in a career-low 11 games in 2018. He's entering the final year of his rookie deal but also has a 2020 team option. With plenty of playmakers around him still, Wentz still has plenty of QB1 upside left, but the question is if fantasy owners feels he's worth the risk due to injuries.

From RotoBaller

Marcus Mariota Mar 26 12:00am ET

Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel confirmed at the NFL owners meetings that quarterback Marcus Mariota remains the starter, even after the club acquired Ryan Tannehill from the Dolphins. Vrabel also said he expects Mariota to be ready when the team starts their offseason program on April 15 after battling through injuries in 2018. Mariota started 13 games last season and finished with a disappointing 2,528 yards, 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions. On a run-first team without great options in the passing game, Mariota will continue to be a mediocre QB2.

From RotoBaller

Rob Gronkowski Mar 25 11:40pm ET

Drew Rosenhaus, the agent for tight end Rob Gronkowski, said he wouldn't be surprised if his client came out of retirement to play for the New England Patriots again. "If the team was struggling or they needed him at some point next year, and lets just say hypothetically Tom Brady gave him a call and said Rob, I need you. I wouldnt be shocked if he came back to play a few games," Rosenhaus said. Gronk seems to be comfortable in his decision to move on from football after winning his third Super Bowl ring last season. The debate now begins as to whether the 29-year-old was the greatest to play his position after accumulating 521 receptions, 7,861 yards and 79 touchdowns in nine NFL seasons.

From RotoBaller

E.J. Gaines Mar 25 11:40pm ET

The Buffalo Bills signed free-agent cornerback E.J. Gaines to a one-year, $3.6 million deal on Monday, according to a league source. The 27-year-old returns to Buffalo after a one-year stint in Cleveland in which he played in just six games. Gaines has yet to play a full season in his four NFL seasons. He had 59 total tackles, three forced fumbles and one interception in 11 games for the Bills back in 2017. Gaines is expected to compete for a starting spot opposite Tre'Davious White.

From RotoBaller

Kareem Hunt Mar 25 7:50pm ET

Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey said the team has a plan for running back Kareem Hunt up until his suspension begins for the 2019 season. Hunt was suspended eight games by the NFL for two violations of the personal-conduct policy. The running back won't appeal the suspension and Dorsey said he is "most proud" of the effort Hunt is taking to grow into the best version of himself. Hunt will obviously have his upside capped with Cleveland in 2019 because of his suspension for half the season and the fact that he'll be sharing the backfield with Nick Chubb when he makes his season debut.

From RotoBaller

Derek Carr Mar 25 7:40pm ET

Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden confirmed that Derek Carr will be the team's starting quarterback in 2019. While the Raiders believe in Carr, they will still send personnel to meet with Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray and Ohio State signal-caller Dwayne Haskins. The Raiders own the fourth overall pick in the first round of this year's draft, one of three first-round picks for Oakland. Carr, 28 on March 28, threw for a career-high 4,049 yards in 2018 with a 68.9 percent completion percentage, but he had just a career-low 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions over a full season. Gaining receivers Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams will help, but he's also losing safety blanket Jared Cook at tight end. Draft Carr as a QB2 with upside.

From RotoBaller

Jeremy Maclin Mar 24 9:31pm ET

Former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin announced on Sunday that he is retiring from the NFL after 10 years. Maclin was drafted in the first round in 2009 and spent six seasons with the Eagles alongside DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy. He is the 10th leading receiver in Philly franchise history after compiling 343 catches, 4,771 receiving yards and 36 touchdowns. Maclin spent the last three years struggling with the Chiefs and Ravens.

Rob Gronkowski Mar 24 6:13pm ET

New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement from the NFL Sunday, March 24.

Fantasy Spin: The Patriots have lost Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen this offseason, so they probably will be looking for a tight end early in the 2019 NFL Draft. None of the other tight ends on the Patriots roster have a lot of fantasy value.

Rob Gronkowski Mar 24 6:10pm ET

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski announced on Sunday that he is retiring. The 29-year-old Gronk finished on a high note in the postseason and goes out on top with another Super Bowl ring, but he struggled to gain separation from defenders in the regular season and finished with 47 catches for 682 yards and three touchdowns during the regular season in 13 games. Gronkowski had four 1,000-yard receiving seasons and amassed a whopping 79 regular season scores in his nine-year career. He'll go down as one of the most dominant tight ends in NFL history. With Gronk no longer around, Stephen Anderson will be the top tight end on the depth chart, although he won't be much of a fantasy consideration. Losing Gronk as a safety blanket will surely affect quarterback Tom Brady negatively moving forward.

From RotoBaller

Jeremy Maclin Mar 24 5:43pm ET

Free-agent WR Jeremy Maclin (Ravens) announced his retirement Sunday, March 24.

Michael Johnson Mar 24 4:03pm ET

Free-agent DE Michael Johnson (Bengals) is not expected to re-sign with the Cincinnati Bengals this offseason.

George Iloka Mar 24 4:00pm ET

The Dallas Cowboys signed free-agent safety George Iloka to an undisclosed one-year deal on Saturday, according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo. The seven-year safety played the first six seasons of his career with the Bengals but disappointed with only 16 tackles in 16 games (three starts) for the Vikings in 2018. It's looking like Iloka will have a starting role with his new team in Dallas.

From RotoBaller

Bryce Callahan Mar 24 12:33pm ET

Denver Broncos CB Bryce Callahan (foot) is unlikely to participate in the team's draft-week minicamp as he recovers from a foot injury, head coach Vic Fangio said Sunday, March 24.