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Flacco leads Ravens over Jags EXHIBITION ROUNDUP


February 16. 2013 6:46PM


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BALTIMORE — Joe Flacco completed 27 of 36 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns before leaving early in the third quarter, and the Baltimore Ravens cruised to a 48-17 preseason victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night.


Flacco connected with nine receivers, most notably second-year wideout Torrey Smith, who finished with eight catches for 103 yards. Anquan Boldin caught a 5-yard TD pass and Vonta Leach scored on an 8-yard reception.


Baltimore finished with 571 yards total offense and had five drives of at least 80 yards. The 48 points were the most ever scored by the Ravens in a preseason game.


With support from a defense that kept Jacksonville quarterback Blaine Gabbert in check, the Ravens (No. 5 in the AP Pro32) built a 20-3 lead before Flacco took a seat.


After opening the preseason with wins over the New York Giants and New Orleans, Jacksonville (No. 31) took a step back against the Ravens. Gabbert went 11 for 21 for 117 yards over three quarters, and Rashad Jennings, starting in place of holdout Maurice Jones-Drew, gained 57 yards on 13 carries.


Jacksonville cornerback Rashean Mathis played for the first time this summer following knee surgery, but Jaguars cornerback Aaron Ross was forced from the game with an ankle injury and tight end Zach Miller left in the second quarter with an injured leg.


Against the Giants and Saints, Gabbert drove the Jaguars (2-1) to a touchdown on their opening possession. In this one, Jacksonville started on its own 5 after a Ravens punt and made only one first down — on a 16-yard completion to first-round draft pick Justin Blackmon — before kicking the ball away.


Ray Rice began the subsequent drive with a 28-yard run, but the march stalled inside the 10 before rookie Justin Tucker kicked a 33-yard field goal. It was an unfulfilling score for the Ravens (2-1), who were intent upon improving their inability to get touchdowns when inside the 20.


That shortcoming would be resolved in Baltimore's third drive. Flacco went 8 for 9 for 87 yards and made it 10-0 with a touchdown throw to Boldin.


The march started with a 16-yard pass to Smith, who came up limping but returned later in the series and caught a key third-down pass. Smith missed last week's game with a sprained ankle.



Packers 27, Bengals 13

CINCINNATI — Aaron Rodgers led Green Bay to a big first half Thursday night, running for 52 yards and two touchdowns for a preseason victory.


The MVP quarterback got the Packers (No. 1 in the AP Pro32) moving at full speed. He went 12 of 22 for 154 yards while leading the Packers to 245 yards and a 17-6 halftime lead. He also scrambled six times, scoring on runs of 12 and 5 yards.


Running back Cedric Benson made his Packers debut against his former team and ran six times for 38 yards.



Titans 32, Cardinals 27

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Jake Locker threw for 134 yards and two touchdowns in his home debut as Tennessee's starting quarterback, and the Titans beat the Arizona Cardinals.


Locker threw for 124 yards and both TDs in giving Tennessee a 17-10 halftime lead and finished 11 of 20 for 134 yards with a 109.2 passer rating. He got plenty of help as the Titans (No. 21 in the AP Pro32) got another strong showing on defense.


End Kamerion Wimbley had two sacks, linebacker Colin McCarthy returned one of his two interceptions 31 yards for a TD and the Titans (2-1) forced five turnovers overall. Returner Marc Mariani broke his left leg.




Hall of Fame running back Steve Van Buren dies


PHILADELPHIA — Steve Van Buren, the Hall of Fame running back who led the Philadelphia Eagles to NFL titles in 1948 and 1949, has died. He was 91.


The Eagles said Van Buren died Thursday in Lancaster, Pa., of pneumonia.


The former LSU star, nicknamed "Wham-Bam" for his quick and punishing running style, joined the Eagles in 1944 as a first-round pick. He led the NFL in rushing four times and finished his eight-year career with 5,860 yards rushing and 77 TDs. The five-time All-Pro player was selected to the NFL's 75th Anniversary Team in 1994, and was the first Eagles player elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


"On the field and off, as a player, a leader and a man, Steve Van Buren embodied the finest characteristics of our city and our sport," said Jeffrey Lurie, the Eagles' chairman and CEO. "He was a friend and an inspiration to generations of fans, and the model of what an Eagle should be."





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