The Ravens and Dolphins have met once before a couple of years ago. The outcome was the same and at the same location which is Dolphin Stadium. That outcome happened when the Ravens were defending their Super Bowl crown. Elvis "bleeping" Grbac! Thank God I forgot else happened in the rest of those plays. Anyway, the Ravens defeated the Dolphins again, 27-9.
This game was all about the Ravens defense. They kept establishing a new line scrimmage with their front seven. The defensive linemen and linebackers kept meeting each other in the Dolphins backfield. Terrell Suggs had his way with Jake Long with bull rushes or speed rushes. It didn't matter. The defense snuffed out the Wildcat offense. They didn't have more than 6 yards gained in that formation. The Ravens were caught off guard on the first drive of the Dolphins. The Dolphins came out with Patrick Cobbs making many plays. The Dolphins got down inside the Ravens 10 yard line. The Ravens held them to a field goal. That stand set the tone for the rest of the game. From that point on, the Ravens forced five turnovers, including a highlight plays made by Ed Reed. Shocking! Ed Reed return an interception 64 yards for a touchdown. Once the interception was caught, the Ravens defense turned into an offensive team setting up a convoy for Ed Reed on the right side of the field. His other interception halted another Dolphins drive in Ravens territory. Reed saw something in the routes ran by the tight end and wide receiver and jumped the route for an interception. The performance was dominant and they just overwhemed the Dolphins from start to finish.
Offensively, the Ravens had one turnover which was a Le'Ron McClain fumble. Otherwise, the Ravens had a rather underwhelming game. Joe Flacco was 9/23 for 135 yards with zero touchdowns or interceptions. He did have a rushing TD late to put some icing on the game. The great thing about Flacco in this game is that he took his chances. He threw the football down the field where only his receiver had a chance to catch it. Flacco didn't turn the football over either which is always a good thing. He manage the game really well. The running game of the Ravens was hit and miss. It missed for most of the game until McGahee had a 48 yard scamper, which set up Flacco for 5 yard QB sneak for the touchdown. The Ravens did what they had to do on offense which was win the field position battle and give their defense a rest. Against Tennessee, the Ravens offense will need to step up their game and score touchdowns.
The only bright spot for the Dolphins was their defense. Their defense did their job, making the Ravens go three and out on numerous occassions. The Dolphins offense could not take advantage of their good field position. The pass blocking was terrible. Anytime Chad Pennington dropped back to pass, he ended up on the turf. Defenses can make any QB look pathetic out there. See Tom Brady in last year's Super Bowl. The Wildcat offense wasn't running wild in this game. The Dolphins only used it twice. They did use a wishbone formation a couple of times but that formation wasn't productive either. The Dolphins have a bright future. They just need a franchise QB, at least for the future, another good wide receiver, and a good corner back.
The Ravens will take on the Tennessee Titans in the next round. This game will be tough for the Ravens. The defense will bring it, but will the offense have better execution? The offense needs to have better execution against the Titans.