There were plenty of moments where things looked dark for the Ravens on Sunday, but the final score trumps those moments.
A 57-yard field goal attempt by Caleb Sturgis at the end of the fourth quarter wasn’t even close and the Ravens will leave Miami with a 3-2 record after a 26-23 victory over the Dolphins. The missed kick ended a seesaw Sunday between the two teams that saw the Dolphins up seven at the half and the Ravens up 10 early in the fourth quarter before giving back the lead.
The big play there would certainly have been the headline if the Dolphins went on to win. Safety Reshad Jones returned an interception for a touchdown after Joe Flacco was hit by Dion Jordan while delivering a pass, tying the score and adding to another frustrating day for Flacco. He had high points, especially on throws to Torrey Smith, but also missed an open Tandon Doss for a touchdown in the first half. The pass protection was lacking all afternoon, which certainly impacted Flacco’s performance.
The substandard protection emphasized why the Ravens traded for Eugene Monroe, who was inactive Sunday and missed when Bryant McKinnie whiffed on Jordan, and committed to the run. It wasn’t always a smashing success, but Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce combined for 120 yards on 38 carries. Rice also scored twice in a strong rebound from last weekend. The same is true of the Ravens, who fought their way to a road win on a day when they weren’t clicking on all cylinders.
Pass protection was a major issue for the Dolphins as well. The Ravens sacked Ryan Tannehill six times with Terrell Suggs coming up with three of them and Elvis Dumervil dropping the Dolphin quarterback just before Sturgis’ miss. Tannehill wound up 21-of-40 for 307 yards and would have had better numbers if not for a series of drops by his receivers. There were some big plays to Mike Wallace, but Wallace was also responsible for a couple of the most painful drops. The running game wasn’t a factor outside of contributing to a second straight Miami loss.
One imagines that will be one of several places the Dolphins try to improve during their bye week.