BALTIMORE — Not much hope surrounded the Baltimore Ravens this week. After all, over the last two weeks the Ravens went 0-2. First, Baltimore lost in overtime to the underdog Chicago Bears at M&T Bank Stadium, dropping their record at home to an uncharacteristic 1-2 mark. The Ravens followed that up with a stinker in Minnesota. The Dolphins, meanwhile, came into Baltimore riding a two-game win streak, featuring victories over the Falcons and Jets.
Despite the circumstances, Baltimore manhandled Miami on Thursday night, scoring 20 points in each half, ending in a 40-0 onslaught. According to the Ravens, the 40-point shutout is the largest shutout margin in Ravens history. In the Ravens’ last two meetings against the Dolphins, Baltimore went 2-0 by a 78-6 margin.
The win puts the Ravens back at .500 with a record of 4-4. The Dolphins fall to 4-3 and face serious questions after getting shutout for the second time this season.
The two teams traded punts early on, but the Ravens won the field position battle and had the ball at Miami’s 42-yard line to begin their second drive. Three plays later, Joe Flacco found Jeremy Maclin for a 34-yard touchdown pass. The touchdown marks Maclin’s third of the year, and the first in five weeks. Maclin returned on Thursday after missing two games with a shoulder injury.
In the second quarter, the Ravens added 13 points on two field goals and a touchdown. The first two offensive drives in the second stanza resulted in Justin Tucker field goals of 55 and 48 yards. On the first drive, Alex Collins exploded through the line for a 19-yard gain. In the next drive, he broke out a 13-yard run.
On Miami’s ensuing drive, the Dolphins marched down the field, gaining 52 yards on eight plays. Kenny Stills had a nice 28-yard reception from quarterback Matt Moore, who started for the Dolphins in the place of Jay Cutler. Cutler suffered cracked ribs on Sunday against the Jets.
Miami got the football down to the Ravens’ 32-yard line, and sent kicker Cody Parkey out to attempt a field goal. His kick attempt sailed right, and the Ravens pounced. Baltimore put together an eight-play drive of their own that featured a 27-yard catch-and-run by Collins.
Just before the two-minute warning, the Ravens lost Flacco when the quarterback was running on a third down play. Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso led with his shoulder and slammed into Flacco’s helmet, which fell off. Flacco’s head jerked to the right and sunk back.
A personal foul was called, but Alonso was not ejected from the game. Flacco immediately got up and walked around, but was diagnosed with a concussion and ruled out for the remainder of the game. Flacco’s left ear also got cut up when his helmet flew off. He received stitches while in the trainer’s room.
Ryan Mallett relieved Flacco with 2:50 to go in the second quarter. On the third play Mallett saw, he found tight end Benjamin Watson for a two-yard touchdown. This is Mallett’s second touchdown pass of the season: he threw a TD pass in the week 3 London game against the Jaguars, also to Watson.
The Ravens went into halftime with a 20-0 lead, but they knew that they would need to sustain their lead without their franchise quarterback.
In the fourth quarter alone, the Ravens doubled their point margin on three touchdowns, two via pick-six by the defense. The first defensive touchdown occurred just 31 seconds into the final quarter when C.J. Mosley intercepted a Moore pass and returned it 63 yards to the house. For some reason, the Ravens elected to try the two-point conversion but failed. That made the score 26-0 with about a quarter of football left to play.
The second pick-six, caught by Jimmy Smith and returned 50 yards, occurred with 4:28 left in the game. That score made it 40-0, the last points to be scored in the lopsided affair.
The third touchdown that took place right before Smith’s interception was a weird play. The Ravens had the ball on Miami’s two-yard line. Buck Allen ran the ball in for what appeared to be a touchdown, but Allen lost control of the football and fumbled on the play. Receiver Chris Moore fell onto the football and recovered the fumble, scoring a touchdown.
After Smith’s score, the Dolphins ensuing drive stalled on a loss of downs, and the Ravens ran out the clock with the final score 40-0.
The Ravens finished with 174 rushing yards, led 113 yards from Collins on 18 carries. Allen carried the ball 17 times and ran for 55 yards. Maclin had the most receiving yards (53) on three catches with a touchdown. Nick Boyle caught four passes for 29 yards. Flacco completed 10 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown, Mallett completed three passes for 20 yards and a touchdown.
On defense, Brandon Carr led the Ravens with five solo tackles. The Ravens sacked Moore four times on Thursday night – Mosley, Za’Darius Smith, Tyus Bowser, and Anthony Levine Sr. found Moore in the backfield.
The Ravens out-gained the Dolphins in yards, 295-196. The Dolphins were penalized seven times for 43 yards, and the Ravens got flagged five times for 40 yards. Baltimore won the turnover margin, 2-0. The Ravens also won the time of possession battle, 31:14-28:46. The Ravens defense did not allow the Dolphins to reach the red zone.
After Alsonso’s hit on Flacco, the rest of the game was chippy. John Harbaugh got caught of camera yelling at Alonso, and Alonso was barking back. Ryan Jensen got into a few scuffles, and at one point Ndamukong Suh put his hands on the throat of Mallett after Suh hit Mallett late. Charm City Bird Watch author Nolan McGraw had a great take of Suh’s actions.
Up next: The Ravens have the weekend off before traveling to Tennessee for their next game, which takes place at 1:00 on Sunday, Nov. 5 against the Titans. The Titans beat the Cleveland Browns 12-9 on Sunday, and have a bye this week. With concussions typically taking 1-2 weeks to recover from, it will be interesting to see if Flacco can make it back in time for kickoff. Following the Titans game, the Ravens will undergo their bye week.
Image Credit: USA Today