The Miami Dolphins hosted the Baltimore Ravens in a Thursday night kickoff to the NFL’s Week 10 schedule. Whenever these two teams have met over the past several years, it has been ugly for Miami, who lost the last three games by 32-, 40-, and 49-points.
It was not ugly on Thursday night, however, as Miami’s defense came out and dominated throughout the night. The decision by Brian Flores to replace Jacoby Brissett, who started the game, with Tua Tagovailoa, despite the injured finger, was perfect.
Miami comes out of this game 3-7 on the year and, surprisingly, within striking distance of a playoff position. After a miserable start to the season, two straight wins could have Miami looking to at least make some noise if not a run.
Ravens 10 - Dolphins 22
The Ravens received the opening kickoff after Miami deferred the choice to the second half. Starting at their own 25-yard line after the touchback, Baltimore came out showing off their number one rush offense. On an eight-play drive, they ran five times for 41 yards, while throwing on three plays, picking up 11 yards. Working their way to the Miami 23-yard line, the drive stalled after a delay of game penalty and Miami safety Jevon Holland forcing Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson to throw the ball early and wide receiver Sammy Watkins easing up on the route. Baltimore settled for a 46-yard field goal. Ravens 3-0.
There is a reason the Ravens are the number one rushing offense, and it is not just Jackson being able to run the ball. They are taking it to Miami early, and the Dolphins are going to have to step up and stop it. Holland just missed the sack on the third-down play, but he is already looking like he will be a big part of any Miami defensive success tonight.
Miami began with a Myles Gaskin run for three yards, then a catch-and-run from Albert Wilson, who made several moves to pick up 16 yards. The drive stalled there, however, ending with a sack of quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Miami punted after the five-play, 12-yard drive.
Good cuts from Wilson, who has been invisible pretty much all year. Other than that, not a lot to react to on a short drive from Miami.
Baltimore again looked to the run game to control the clock and their offense, with Jackson and running back Devonta Freeman both picking up yardage on the ground. After moving from their own 25 out to the Miami 37, the Ravens faced a 3rd-and-10, with Jackson throwing to Marquise Brown, who fought forward but fumbled the ball at the 30-yard line. Rashod Bateman fell on the loose ball, but it set up a 4th-and-3, with Justin Tucker missing the field goal and keeping it 3-0.
Stop the run. Miami has to stop the run. Safety Eric Rowe forced the fumble well, and the missed field goal is a good thing for the Dolphins, but they have to stop the run.
Miami went three-and-out after the missed field goal, however, after an incomplete pass, a one-yard loss from running back Myles Gaskin, and an incomplete pass targeting Mike Gesicki well short of the marker.
The Dolphins had the ball for 1:02 on that drive. The defense cannot be asked to come back out and perform after getting a one-minute rest. Miami needs to sustain drives.
The defense did respond, however. After an incomplete pass from Jackson toward Brown, then a five-yard gain on another pass from Jackson to Brown, Miami’s defense got some. Rookie linebacker Jaelan Phillips and linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel met at Jackson, forcing the three-and-out to end the first quarter.
Phillips and Van Ginkel are going to be a good pass rush tandem if Miami can force teams into passing situations more often.
The Dolphins offense did not build off the defensive success, however, as they again went three-and-out.
Miami seems to be looking to Wilson to create a spark tonight. He run an end-around for five yards on first down, then came out looking to throw after a back-pass from Brissett, but he could not find anyone and had to eat a sack for a one-yard loss. Brissett bounced a pass toward Gesicki on third down and the punted after holding the ball for just 1:35.
Miami’s first three possessions have been for 2:40, 1:02, and 1:35, picking up just 15 yards.
The Ravens were again held to a three-and-out, this time picking up six yards but leading to another punt.
The defense is making a statement right now. The offense now needs to do something with it.
The Dolphins offense actually put together a drive. Other than two rushes from running back Salvon Ahmed for six yards, the drive featured Brissett working through the air. He threw to Ahmed for 4 yards, Waddle for 11 yards, Isaiah Ford for seven yards, and Adam Shaheen for 23 yards on the drive, but a holding penalty at the Baltimore five-yard line backed up the Dolphins and led to a field goal. Tied 3-3.
That was more like it for the offense. It did not end with a touchdown, and a penalty still killed the momentum, but at least they held on to the ball for more than 90 seconds. Still not sure where the hold was, as the defender appeared to slip more than Durham Smythe held him, but whatever the case, it killed the drive. Miami settled for the field goal, which gave the team points, but not the points they need to win this game.
Baltimore picked up a first down on the first play of the drive, with Jackson finding tight end Mark Andrews for 13 yards. After that, however, the Dolphins defense shut down Baltimore’s attack and the Ravens were forced to punt three plays later.
The defense seems to have seriously shown up tonight. They are going to have to keep it going for the remainder of the game, but this is starting to look like the defense we expected to see this season.
Miami looked like they might put something together on their next possession, getting the ball with 3:56 remaining in the half. Brissett picked up four yards on the opening play, then found rookie wide receiver Jaylen Waddle for a six-yard gain and a first down following an incomplete pass. The drive stalled after that, however, as Gaskin picked up two yards, then one yard to take the clock to the two-minute warning. After an incomplete pass on 3rd-and-7, the Dolphins punted ball back to Baltimore with 1:47 remaining in the half.
The Dolphins needed that drive to do more than just lead to a six-play, 13-yard possession. Getting the ball to start the second half, a score here would have been beautiful for Miami.
Baltimore picked up 11 yards on the first play, then Jackson picked up five yards on a scramble. An incomplete pass followed by a two-yard run from Freeman, with Jerome Baker tracking him down from behind to prevent the conversion, led to a Baltimore punt with 51 second remaining.
Wait. Miami may have a shot here still. The defense is playing hard tonight.
Brissett came out looking to pick up chunks of yards as the Dolphins had the ball at their own 12-yard line with 51 seconds and two timeouts. After an incomplete pass, he found Ford for 19 yards, then running back Patrick Laird for two yards. On a scramble drill, with Brissett flushed out of the pocket, Ford broke open down the field and Brissett found him, ultimately leading to a 52-yard gain. Brissett then found Shaheen for 11 yards, but two incomplete passes led to the Dolphins settling for a field goal before the half. Dolphins 6-3.
What a drive from an offense that really had not done a lot early in the game. The pass to Ford was Miami’s longest play of the season. It was a good way to make sure they got some points before the half, knowing they would get the ball after the break.
After the touchback on the kickoff, Jackson knelt to kill the clock
The defense has played well through the first half. They are keeping Jackson under control, which is definitely a surprise. The defense looks so much better today than they have at any time this season. Can they keep it up in the second half?
Brissett has not looked great, but the offense is starting to find a rhythm. Will they lose it in the second half? Brissett is 11 for 22 for 156 yards.
Despite only have one catch for 16 yards and a run for five yards, Wilson has been busy in the first half. The Dolphins are using him all around the offense, and he is in motion, faking jet sweeps, and looking to keep the Ravens defense guessing as to who has the ball. He has been non-existent for so much of the season, it is interesting to see the Dolphins use him in so many different ways, even if it is not with the ball in his hands.
If Miami can come out in the second half and put a touchdown on the board with the first possession, they could be in the drivers seat for the rest of the game.
Miami’s opening drive, looking to score at the end of the first half and at the start of the second half, did nothing. Gaskin lost a yard on first down, then an incomplete pass was followed by a sack of Brissett, with the quarterback fumbling and offensive lineman Liam Eichenberg falling on the loose ball. Brissett immediately grabbed his right knee and screamed in pain as the play ended. Miami punted to complete the three-and-out, but it was clearly the injury to Brissett that was the biggest news of the drive.
Loss of a huge chance for the Dolphins. Scoring there would have been a monster for the Dolphins, their confidence, and maybe their ability to win this game. Brissett’s injury would appear to set up Tua Tagovailoa to enter the game, despite the broken finger that had him listed as the backup.
The Ravens started the drive with an 11-yard scramble from Jackson, but then the Miami defense continued to find success. A Le’Veon Bell run for no gain was followed by a sack by Adam Butler after Emmanuel Ogbah disrupted the throwing lane for Jackson. After an incomplete pass, the Ravens were forced to punt.
The break did not slow down the defense. The offense might be in trouble if Brissett is badly injured and Tagovailoa has any sort of issue with throwing the ball with a broken finger. The defense needs to keep this up.
Tagovailoa did enter the game, handing the ball to Gaskin on first down for a four-yard gain Tagovailoa then found Waddle for nine yards, converting a first down for Miami. The drive stalled there, however, as Gaskin picked up a yard, then Tagovailoa threw two incomplete passes. After a false start penalty on long snapper Blake Ferguson, Miami was backed up to their own 14-yard line and punted from there.
Rough to know exactly what Tagovailoa can and cannot do based on that possession. Was he throwing the ball away on the first incompletion, when he badly threw behind Gesicki? Did his finger have something to do with that throw? According to Erin Andrews, Brissett was heading back into the game when head coach Brian Flores stopped him and told Tagovailoa to head into the game. Why is Tagovailoa healthy enough to play now, but he could not start? Is this to protect Brissett because the exact injury is not known?
Baltimore started with the ball at their own 46-yard line, looking to take advantage of the good starting field position. Jackson threw short to Freeman for a nine-yard gain, but then Freeman was stuffed in the backfield by Zack Sieler for a five-yard loss. After a nine-yard pass from Jackson to Bateman gave the Ravens another first down, Jackson was sacked by Elandon Roberts who cleaned up the play after Van Ginkel just missed the sack himself. ell kicked up a yard, then Jackson was forced to scramble for three yards and the Dolphins defense again forced a Baltimore punt.
The defense is just dominating right now.
Expert analysis on Miami's defensive play right now. pic.twitter.com/MZkQ4KRx9d— The Phinsider (@thephinsider) November 12, 2021
Tagovailoa stayed in for Miami’s next possession, finding Wilson on the first two plays, gaining one- and six-yards on the plays. On 3rd-and-3, Tagovailoa looked toward Wilson again, but had his hand hit as he tried to throw the pass and it sailed long. Miami punted on the three-and-out possession.
Tagovailoa was shaking his hand as he left the field. Is it enough to force him back to the bench and Brissett back into the game?
Baltimore began at their own 22-yard line, with Jackson throwing to Andrews for an 11-yard gain to start the possession. After Jackson ran for one yard, Andrews was ruled to have caught a ball just off the grass for 14 yards, but Miami challenged the play was reversed into an incomplete pass. Jackson was then sacked by Holland, forcing another Baltimore punt.
Seriously, where has this defense been all year? Brian Flores appears to have taken over defensive play calling, and, if he did, he needs to do it from now on. This is so impressive.
Miami started at their own 36-yard line, with Miami running a gadget play to start the drive. Tagovailoa handed the ball to Gaskin, who ran to the left, then turned around and threw a pass back to Tagovailoa, who immediately threw the ball back to Gaskin who ran what was essentially a screen pass for 14 yards. After a holding penalty negated a 10-yard gain on another screen pass to Gaskin, Tagovailoa looked deep to Waddle for a 35-yard gain to end the quarter.
Miami continued to keep the pressure on Baltimore with another end-around for Wilson, who picked up 14 yards. Tagovailoa looked toward Waddle in the endzone on 1st-and-10 from the 11, with a defensive pass interference moving the Dolphins down to the one-yard line. Gaskin was stopped for no gain on first down, then an incomplete pass when Josh Bynes made a gorgeous leaping pass breakup to prevent the pass from getting to Gesicki. A false start backed up Miami into a 3rd-and-Goal from the six. An incomplete pass was negated by offsetting penalties, setting up another 3rd-and-Goal play for Miami. The Dolphins went to the screen pass, intended for Gaskin, but guard Robert Hunt caught the ball and would have scored - if he was not flagged for being ineligible to be a receiver.
After another 3rd-and-Goal play, this time from the 11-yard line, fell incomplete, Miami settle for another field goal. Dolphins 9-3.
The drive was good, Tagovailoa looks good, and the Dolphins are clicking, even if they are not scoring touchdowns. But, none of that matter on this possession as everything is about Robert Hunt’s touchdown that was not. What a great play from a 6-foot-6, 327-pound guard. Just great.
So amazing even if it didn’t count.— The Phinsider (@thephinsider) November 12, 2021
After the Dolphins settled for the field goal, Baltimore started at their own 25-yard line following the touchback. A pass interference penalty on Xavien Howard moved the ball 17 yards for the Ravens, but an incomplete pass and a run for no gain set up 3rd-and-10 there. Jackson threw to Sammy Watkins for an eight-yard completion, but the receiver fumbled the ball as he was hit by Howard. The cornerback scooped up the ball and ran it back for a touchdown. Miami failed on the two-point conversion attempt. Dolphins 15-3.
The party is on. This game is not over with 11 minutes still to play, but this game is fun right now.
The Ravens again began at their own 25-yard line, with Jackson picking up 11 yards to start the drive. But as has happened throughout the night, that is really all the Dolphins defense would give them. Three straight incomplete passes led to a Baltimore punt.
The Dolphins defense is just strangling the Ravens right now.
Miami’s drive looked to run some clock, but did not succeed as much as they would have liked. A 23-yard pass from Tagovailoa to Smythe was followed by a strip-sack of Tagovailoa, with Eichenberg jumping on the fumble. Gaskin then picked up 11 yards, followed by a pass from Tagovailoa to Ford for six yards. It brought up 4th-and-1, with Miami trying to draw the Ravens offsides. After a delay of game, Miami punted, with Mack Hollins able to down the ball inside the Ravens’ one-yard line.
Miami was trying to kill some clock, but they were only able to take off 3:02. The party is still going on, but it might need to calm a little.
The Ravens started at their own one-yard line, then backed up a couple of inches when they were called for delay of game ahead of the first play. Jackson was able to pick up seven yards on a pass to Brown, then a roughing the passer penalty on Jerome Baker for landing on Jackson with his bodyweight game Baltimore 15 yards on an incomplete pass. A couple of plays later, with Baltimore facing 2nd-and-6, Miami was again called for roughing the passer when Holland jumped up to try to block the pass from Jackson and bumped the quarterback. On 3rd-and-3 shortly after, Miami was called for a defensive hold when Justin Coleman was shoved by Brown. After a Jackson pass to Bateman for 20 yards, the Ravens scored on a five-yard touchdown pass from Jackson to Andrews, with safety Eric Rowe stopping on the play as he, and several other players, appeared to hear a whistle. Dolphins 15-10.
That was crap from the referees. Just horrible officiating on that drive. Miami’s defense appeared to stop the Ravens multiple times, but Baltimore was bailed out by just bad penalty calls.
Miami began at their own 25-yard line, needing to eat up 4:12 on the clock. Gaskin ran for no gain on first down, then a play-action with Wilson running a fake jet sweep left the receiver all alone on the sideline, with Tagovailoa finding him for a 64-yard gain. A 12-men penalty on Baltimore added to Miami’s movement forward, setting up the Dolphins with 1st-and-5 from the six-yard line. After a false start backed up Miami to the 10-yard line, Gaskin picked up the first down with two runs, the Tagovailoa scored on the quarterback keeper. Dolphins 22-10.
It is great to have Wilson back being a part of the offense. He really does provide a spark, especially with Will Fuller sitting on injured reserve.
Jackson threw to Freeman for eight yards on the first play, taking the clock to the two-minute warning. Miami started playing more of a prevent defense after the stoppage, with the Ravens able to move down to the redzone, in large part from a 30-yard pass from Jackson to Bateman. On 3rd-and-Goal from the seven, Jackson looked toward Bateman in the endzone, but Justin Coleman lept in front of picked off the pass.
Fitting the game essentially ends with a Dolphins interception. The defense dominated this game all night.
Tagovailoa knelt twice to end the game.