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Baltimore Ravens Week 8 report card: RB Alex Collins stepping up

By
Todd Karpovich, The Sports Xchange
Baltimore Ravens running back Alex Collins (34) runs 30 yards for a first down past Chicago Bears defenders Eddie Jackson (39) and Danny Trevathan (59) during the first half of an NFL game at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland, October 15, 2017. File photo by David Tulis/UPI
Baltimore Ravens running back Alex Collins (34) runs 30 yards for a first down past Chicago Bears defenders Eddie Jackson (39) and Danny Trevathan (59) during the first half of an NFL game at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland, October 15, 2017. File photo by David Tulis/UPI | License Photo

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Running back Alex Collins has given the Baltimore Ravens an unexpected spark since being signed off the practice squad in late September.

Collins had his best game Thursday night, running for a career-high 113 yards on 18 carries against the Dolphins, who entered the game with the league's fifth-ranked rush defense.

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"It feels great. It feels amazing. It's been long time coming," Collins said about his 100-yard-plus performance. "I've been close a few times, and you know, just the encouragement from the teammates, the other running backs, the O-line, you know, everybody just wanted to make it happen for me and really worked extra hard making it happen for me. I felt the strain out there from everybody else, felt the energy to each other. We definitely played for each other and worked hard for that."

Collins has overcome some early fumbling issues and is now the team's best playmaker on offense. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh had his staff work with Collins to better protect the football and the results have been positive.

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"He ran well," Harbaugh said. "That run up the left sideline at the end of the game - you probably got a better look at it than I did, because it was on the other sideline - I thought he was down, but then he was still running for 10 more yards up the sideline. (It was) a pretty athletic run. He made some really good runs. He had a couple runs where they had him in the backfield, two or three times, where he got positive yards."

REPORT CARD VS. DOLPHINS

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--PASSING OFFENSE: B -- Quarterback Joe Flacco was 10 of 15 for 101 yards and a touchdown before exiting with a concussion. Backup Ryan Mallett completed 3 of 7 passes for 20 yards and a score. The receivers struggled with some drops again.

--RUSHING OFFENSE: A -- Alex Collins had a career-high 113 yards on 18 carries. Javorius "Buck" Allen added 55 yards on 17 carries. It was an all-around solid performance against the Dolphins, who entered the game with the league's fifth-ranked run defense.

--PASS DEFENSE: A -- Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore, who was making his first start of the season for the injured Jay Cutler, struggled much of the night, going 25 of 44 for 176 yards with two interceptions. He was sacked three times and had a 47.1 passer rating. Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley and cornerback Jimmy Smith capped a dominant day with interception returns for touchdowns from 63 and 50 yards, respectively.

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--RUSH DEFENSE: A -- The Ravens had a bounce-back performance, limiting the Dolphins to just 45 yards on the ground. Tackle Brandon Williams had four tackles, including three for a loss. Carl Davis, Chris Wormley and Michael Pierce were also solid.

--SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- Justin Tucker made a pair of field goals, but also had one blocked. Punter Sam Koch had an uneven game. Primary returner Michael Campanaro did not play because of a shoulder injury. Lardarius Webb and Griff Whalen were serviceable in his place.

--COACHING: A -- This was ostensibly a must-win game for the Ravens and they delivered their best performance of the season. The staff made the necessary adjustments with the run defense and the offense played solidly. The victory keeps Baltimore in the playoff hunt.

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