By: Karuga Koinange, Staff Writer
Featured image courtesy of baltimoreravens.com
The Baltimore Ravens snapped their two-game losing streak with a convincing 40-0 victory over the Miami Dolphins Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium.
Despite some uninspiring play on offense the last two games, Baltimore (4-4) moved the ball efficiently against a talented Miami (4-3) defense.
Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi ran for a 21-yard gain on the second play from scrimmage, but didn’t see much success after that. The Ravens consistently stuffed the run and held their opponents to just 45 yards on the ground.
On the other side of the ball, quarterback Joe Flacco got off to a nice start as he connected with wide receiver Jeremy Maclin for a 34-yard touchdown bomb early in the first quarter. Running back Alex Collins also impressed as he was able to break off solid gains on the ground.
Even when the home team couldn’t get into the end zone, kicker Justin Tucker put up points. Tucker drilled two field goals early in the second stanza, including a 55-yard kick, to put Baltimore up 13-0.
However, the complexion of the game changed completely on a single play just before halftime.
With the Ravens in the red zone, Flacco scrambled outside the pocket on a long third down play and headed for the first-down marker. Linebacker Kiko Alonso knocked Flacco’s helmet off with a devastating hit to the head as the quarterback was in his sliding motion, which drew an unnecessary roughness penalty.
Flacco was visibly shaken up, and immediately left the game to enter concussion protocol. The team called on backup quarterback Ryan Mallett to take over, and he was clearly prepared for the opportunity as he hit tight end Ben Watson on a two-yard touchdown just three plays after the injury. The Ravens took a 20-0 lead heading into intermission.
Baltimore played keepaway throughout the third quarter as it kept the ball on the ground to chew clock. The defense delivered the play that sealed the game early in the fourth as linebacker C.J. Mosley picked off a pass from quarterback Matt Moore and returned it 63 yards for a touchdown.
Mosley displayed great athleticism as he feigned a blitz, dropped back in coverage and snatched the ball out of midair for the interception.
Cornerback Jimmy Smith added an exclamation point on Miami’s next drive as he intercepted a pass from Moore and returned it 50 yards for the second defensive score of the game. Moore could not get into a rhythm the whole night, as the Ravens sacked him four times and played tight coverage on the opposing receivers.
Flacco and the team have some time to rest before its next matchup. Baltimore faces the Tennessee Titans Sunday, Nov. 5, at Nissan Stadium. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.