BALTIMORE, MD – Needing a win to keep their hopes of winning the AFC North alive, the Ravens convincingly defeated the Miami Dolphins 38-6 on Sunday. Baltimore has now won four out of their last five games, their record is now 7-5, and they snapped Miami’s six-game winning streak that dated back to Oct. 16 against the Steelers.
“A heck of a team victory,” Harbaugh said after the game. “I think its something that has been in our minds and our vision. It’s what we have been working for, and its nice to see it happen.”
Quarterback Joe Flacco put on a show for the fans in attendance at M&T Bank Stadium. Flacco threw for 381 yards and four touchdowns on 36 completions. Two of his touchdowns went to tight-end Dennis Pitta; the first being a 13-yard pass, and the latter a nine-yard score. The two touchdown receptions by Pitta were his first scores since Dec. 8, 2013 against the Minnesota Vikings.
Pitta finished the game with nine receptions for 90 yards, with the two touchdown scores.
“It was good to get back in the end-zone,” Pitta said after the game. “Obviously, to have the kind of team win and the kind of offensive production we had today was huge.”
Flacco’s other two touchdown throws went to Terrance West and Breshad Perriman. West’s touchdown was a three-yard score on the first drive of the game. Perriman’s score was a 53-yard catch-and-run over the middle of the field. Perriman’s score made it a 31-6 game with 12:49 remaining in the fourth quarter, and in the next drive Flacco was taken out of the game and replaced by Ryan Mallett. After a Ryan Tannehill interception, the Ravens scored on a Mallett-led drive with a nine-yard run by West.
The Ravens’ other score came on the final play of the first half, a 55-yard field goal by Justin Tucker. Tucker is a perfect 27-27 on field goal attempts this season, including eight conversions from 50+ yards.
The 38 points put up by the Ravens was the most out up by the team this season.
On defense, the Ravens put on another stellar performance. They limited star running back Jay Ajayi to 61 yards on 12 carries, and they forced Tannehill into some bad decisions that resulted in three interceptions.
Tannehill’s first intercepted pass occurred at the beginning of the second quarter when safety Lardarius Webb collided with corner-back Jerraud Powers, but managed to pick off the pass intended for DeVante Parker. Webb appeared to be shaken up after the play, but returned on the next defensive drive without missing any time.
After dropping an easy interception last week against the Bengals, safety Eric Weddle intercepted a pass intended for Jarvis Landry. Weddle ran the ball back 53 yards to give Baltimore the ball at Miami’s 45-yard line.
“I’m a play-maker, anyone who thinks otherwise is fooling themselves,” Weddle said after the game. “My teammates and coaches that believe in me make it easier to move past those not-so-good plays that you have.”
In garbage time in the fourth quarter, Powers intercepted Tannehill for his second interception of the season. Overall, along with the three interceptions, the Ravens forced Miami to punt six times and miss a 46-yard field goal attempt. The Dolphins scored an eight-yard touchdown on a one-play drive after Pitta fumbled, but that would be the only time Miami got on the scoreboard. They went for a two-point conversion, but could not convert it.
The 32-point victory over Miami was the second time this season that the Ravens have won a game by a double-digit margin (28-7 against Cleveland in week 10). Before that, the last time the Ravens won a game by 10 points or more (excluding the playoffs) was against the Browns in week 17 of the 2014 season (20-10).
Getting a blowout victory has been a very hard task for the Ravens the last few seasons, and doing so on Sunday was a huge confidence booster for an offense that has been criticized all season. After the Ravens’ 19-14 win over the Bengals last week, Flacco and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg were questioned about the offense being conservative. Both men did not take too kindly to that remark, and responded against Miami.
Next week, the Ravens will face perhaps their toughest task of the season. The Ravens will travel to Foxborough, MA. to take on the New England Patriots, who are 10-2 after defeating the Los Angeles Rams 26-10 on Sunday. Right now, the first-place Patriots have the #1 seed in the AFC playoff picture, and have won three straight games.
The Ravens always play the Patriots close, but Baltimore is 2-3 on the road this season and have lost their last two meetings against New England (including the playoffs). With the Steelers tied with the Ravens for first place in the AFC North (as of this writing), every game going forward is crucial for the Ravens’ playoff hopes.
The Ravens currently hold the #3 seed in the AFC playoff picture, and they control their own destiny with the remaining four games. Three of those four games are on the road, but the Ravens have proved to be a resilient team this season. Following Sunday’s win over the Dolphins, the Ravens will be confident heading into this final four-game stretch.