Ravens-Dolphins: What we learned

Walter Villa, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

MIAMI -- Joe Flacco threw a crucial interception. Coach John Harbaugh took the blame.
But neither had much to worry about after the Baltimore Ravens rallied to defeat the Miami Dolphins, 26-23 Sunday at Sun Life Stadium.
The winning points came from Justin Tucker, who kicked a 44-yard field goal with 1:42 remaining in the fourth quarter. It was Tucker's fourth field goal of the game and held up after the Dolphins' game-tying try by rookie Caleb Sturgis from 57 yards missed wide left in the final seconds.
But, in a sense, the game was won by how the Ravens responded after Flacco's interception, which was returned 25 yards for a touchdown by Reshad Jones. The play tied the score 23-23 with 8:03 left.
"We want that (play call) back," Harbaugh said of opting to pass from the Ravens' nine-yard-line on a third-and-22 situation. "That was a mistake."
On the second possession after the interception, the Ravens (3-2) started their winning drive on their own 40 with 4:07 left. Flacco, who passed for 269 yards, directed the winning drive to subdue the Dolphins (3-2).
Miami, out of timeouts, got the ball on its own 20 for its final drive. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill completed a fourth-and-10 pass to a diving Brandon Gibson for 46 yards.
After Tannehill was sacked by Elvis Dumervil, Sturgis tried the long field goal on fourth-and-15. He had the distance but the ball sailed wide for his first miss of the season.
"I wanted to make sure I got it there," Sturgis said of his kick. "Unfortunately, I hooked it."
Tannehill was sacked six times, including three by left defensive end Terrell Suggs.
"My wife said: 'Bring Momma home three sacks,'" Suggs said.
Flacco, who was intercepted a career-high five times in last week's 23-20 loss to Buffalo, was much better against Miami.
His only turnover Sunday was the pick by Jones, which was caused when Dolphins rookie defensive end Dion Jordan, the No. 3 pick in the 2013 draft, applied pressure and deflected the pass with his left hand. That resulted in a high, floating pass, an easy pick for Jones and a 23-23 score.
Jordan said he wasn't surprised the Ravens tried a pass in that situation.
"(Flacco) is getting all that money," Jordan said, "so you have to expect a pass."

What the Dolphins said
"It's hard to function when you're going backward." -- Coach Joe Philbin.

What the Ravens said
"Joe doesn't ever get phased. It seems Joe never gets shaken. Joe is not the kind of guy that's going to get rattled. That's just who he is. That's part of his greatness. And that's why he is who he is as a player." -- Coach John Harbaugh

What we learned about the Dolphins
1. The Dolphins have to do a much better job protecting quarterback Ryan Tannehill. He had been sacked 18 times entering Sunday, the most of any quarterback in the league. He was sacked six more times on Sunday, including three by Terrell Suggs in the fourth quarter. And Tannehill took a crucial sack on his final play that pushed the team to a 57-yard potential game-tying field goal attempt that missed wide-left.
2. Defensive end Dion Jordan may yet be a good player. Whether he will end up being worth the No. 3 overall pick in the 2013 draft is still under heavy debate in Miami. But he made a couple of big plays in the fourth quarter, including a deflection that resulted in Reshad Jones' interception and game-tying 25-yard touchdown return. Before that, Jordan figured out a screen pass, knocked it down and nearly got the interception.

What we learned about the Ravens
1. Due to injuries, the Ravens were able to make do with just three wide receivers. Even in intense heat, Torrey Smith (6 catches, 121 yards), Tandon Doss (3 for 58) and Deonte Thompson (2 for 11) played exceptionally well.
2. The Ravens' defense, even without legends Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, can still intimidate. They produced six sacks, including three in the fourth quarter by Terrell Suggs, and allowed just three field goals and one touchdown. That one touchdown came just before halftime, but the Ravens' defense allowed just three points after that.

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