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  • 16 Jul
    BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Ravens opened the 2016 NFL season with a reunion of sorts.Six players returning from injuries joined together to contribute to a team that went 5-11 last year -- in part because of their absence.Quarterback Joe Flacco (knee), running back Justin Forsett (broken arm), receiver Steve Smith (torn Achilles tendon), tight end Dennis Pitta (hip), wide receiver Breshad Perriman (knee) and linebacker Terrell Suggs all played a role in the Ravens 13-7 victory over Buffalo on Sunday.It felt good seeing all those faces out there that we didnt see at the end of the year last year, Forsett said. It was good to be back there with the boys.The most important contributor was Flacco, who had a run of 137 straight starts before tearing his ACL and MCL in a win over St. Louis last November. Following limited action in the preseason, the nine-year veteran looked sharp in going 23 for 34 for 258 yards against the Bills.It felt great, it has felt great, Flacco said after the game. I think it held up well. I was really happy with how it went.Smith intended to retire last season until his injury. Now, after skipping the preseason, he returned to grab a team-high five passes.Im good, feeling real good, he said after catching five passes for 19 yards.Pitta hadnt played in a regular season game since 2014 before catching three passes for 39 yards.I stayed healthy, which is important, he said. I am excited to keep it rolling.Perriman, out with a knee injury all of last year, had one catch for 35 yards in his belated NFL debut.Really a dream come true for me, the teams first round pick in 2015 said. Words cant really explain it all. Im just very happy.Other things we learned from the Bills-Ravens opener:TIGHT SPOT: Because the Ravens took away Buffalos deep game, quarterback Tyrod Taylor found it difficult to utilize his tight ends, especially Charles Clay -- a frequent target over the middle during preseason. When Taylor scrambled, his tight ends were reduced to blockers instead of targets. Clay finished with three catches for 40 yards, but one of them was a 33-yard reception.NEWCOMERS SHINE: Two of the Ravens free agent additions during the offseason contributed heavily to the victory. Safety Eric Weddle coordinated a backfield that limited the Bills to 111 yards passing, and wide receiver Mike Wallace caught a 66-yard touchdown to give Baltimore a 10-0 lead in the second quarter. It was a really easy throw; nobody was back there, Flacco said. He did a great job beating the guy with his speed.SCRAMBLED PLANS: The loss of left tackle Cordy Glenn to an ankle injury early in the second quarter didnt help matters any for a Buffalo offense that finished with only 160 yards. It starts with protection, coach Rex Ryan said. We have the ability on the outside. At times, protection held extremely well. At other times, I thought they had outstanding push against us.STRINGING HIM ALONG: Though running back LeSean McCoy picked up 58 yards on 16 carries, Baltimores linebackers and defensive backs made it tough on him with their secondary pursuit. Several times, the Ravens were able to push McCoy laterally on a run, preventing him from turning the corner and making a big gain.Buffalo converted only three of 13 third downs and averaged only 2.7 yards per rush.They really did well on third downs, McCoy said. I had a lousy day, especially in the first half, on third-down protection. They had a nice scheme going on that gave us some fits.GUTSY CALL: Ravens coach John Harbaugh took a field goal off the board after the Bills were called for leverage, a 15-yard penalty that gave Baltimore the ball on the Buffalo 13 with 7:38 remaining. Ryan Fitzpatrick Dolphins Jersey . The mixed zone is not a place to make friends. Jerome Baker Womens Jersey . Schenn scored the game-winning goal and added two assists to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 4-1 win over the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Tuesday. . Now, correct me if Im wrong but I saw one official distinctly pointing at the net indicating a good goal but after an inconclusive review they overturned the goal. Shouldnt the ruling on the ice (good goal) stand after an inconclusive review? Why was this overturned? James Veaudry Pembroke, ON -- Hey Kerry, Youll get a lot of these, but why was the Montreal goal against Nashville Saturday night overturned? Eller puts the puck on net and the on ice ruling from the ref behind the net is a Montreal goal. Reshad Jones Youth Jersey . -- The boos poured down on Tom Brady and the New England Patriots at the end of a horrible first half. Kenny Stills Womens Jersey . Pedro scored from a pass by Lionel Messi in the 33rd minute and added two more goals in the 47th and 72nd after Valdes saved his second penalty in four days following his stop in Wednesdays 4-0 over Ajax in the Champions League. Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland, a driving force behind the NHL adopting its wildly popular 3-on-3 overtime, wondered recently how exciting it would be for the league to adopt a wild-card play-in game similar to what is used by Major League Baseball.The proposal would add a third wild-card playoff team to each conference, with the bottom two wild-card teams facing each other in a one-game playoff to determine which team advances to a first-round playoff series. The idea was discussed at last weeks board of governors meetings in Florida.Personally, Im not in favor of it, Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said. I think we demand a lot of our players and playing more games, I dont think, is a solution.Hextall said that considering the teams play a preseason with a minimum of seven games, 82 games in the regular season and up to two months in the playoffs, plus the potential of the Olympics and World Cup every other season, weve got to be really careful of putting our players through more than we already do.Under Hollands plan, if the current season ended Sunday, the ninth-seeded New Jersey Devils (30 points) would face the second wild-card team in the East, the Washington Capitals (37 points), in the Eastern Conference play-in game. The ninth-seeded Winnipeg Jets (29 points) would face off against the second wild-card Los Angeles Kings (30 points) in the West.It is something weve discussed and it has gained some traction, Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill said. But what if the second wild-card team has a six-point lead on the ninth-place team? Should they be knocked out of the playoffs becausse they lose one game?In the three seasons since the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, when the Columbus Blue Jackets missed the playoffs despite being tied in points with the Minnesota Wild, at least two points have separated the second wild-card team from the ninth-seeded non-playoff team in each conference.ddddddddddddThat alone, Florida Panthers executive chairman Peter Luukko said, should be reason enough to keep the current playoff format unchanged.I think its fine the way it is, Luukko said. I mean, were playing 82 games. I think its fair and I think its really working. Its coming down to the end of the season anyway right now. It couldnt be more exciting. I just think that kind of cheapens it.Nill said there have been discussions among general managers about giving the No. 1 playoff seed more of a reward for finishing with the best record in each conference, perhaps by increasing their number of first-round home games from four to five.That idea might be more palatable to the players than adding an extra game to their schedules.I think its stupid, Flyers forward Jakub Voracek said. A one-game playoff? I dont think this is baseball. You have 82 games to get in the playoffs. If youre not in, youre out.Teammate Wayne Simmonds agreed.You get in, you get in, he said. There should be no play-in game. You finish one through eight, youre in the playoffs. You finish ninth and you lose a tiebreaker by goal differential or something else, its too bad. The tiebreakers are fine, why change it now? ' ' '