By Abraham Gutierrez
Following last week’s win over the New York Jets, the Miami Dolphins were oozing with confidence riding a three-game winning streak. Heading into Thursday night’s showdown in Baltimore, Fins fans were particularly thrilled to finally have Matt Moore in the role of starting quarterback in place of the injured Jay Cutler.
However, the good feels would quickly dissipate, as Miami got off to a sluggish start and would never recover. Unable to get anything going, on either side of the rock, the end result was a 40-0 shellacking at the hands of the Ravens and some humble pie.
“We’re just inept, we just can’t… we’re just not doing anything right now,” said Dolphins head coach Adam Gase. “When you play a game like that and you get shutout again, you just got to start looking at –if it’s one guy, if it’s multiple guys. We’ve just got to come through this, we have a few days to do it.”
Offensively, the Dolphins have made a habit of getting off to slow starts and it finally caught up to them, majorly. As a unit, Miami tallied just 12 first downs (9 passes, 2 rushes, 1 penalty), 196 total yards (45 rushing yards, 151 passing yards) and a goose egg in the point column.
“You don’t ever, you know, go into a week preparing and expect it to turn out like this,” said Moore who, in Cutler’s absence, completed 25-of-44 passes for 176 yards, no touchdowns and 2 (pick-sixes) interceptions for a quarterback rating of 47.2. “I don’t have much to say right now, it’s just tough. It’s tough. We’ve got to figure some stuff out. I’ve got to figure some stuff out. We’ve just got to stick together and move forward.”
Going up against the worst ranked running defense in the league, Miami failed to capitalize, going into the NFL history books as the only team ever to play eight consecutive games without a rushing touchdown.
After starting the game with a 21-yard rush on his first carry, running back Jay Ajayi finished the game with 23 yards on 13 carries. Meanwhile, his backup couldn’t get anything going either, as Kenyan Drake generated 22 yards on 6 carries.
The protection was yet again an issue, as the offensive line couldn’t hold off the Ravens pass rush. In a familiar role, the Fins quarterback was sacked multiple times (3), hit constantly, and hurried all night.
Through the air, Miami’s leaders consisted of Kenny Stills (5 catches, 65 yards), Leonte Carroo (6 catches, 48 yards) and Jarvis Landry (5 catches, 33 yards).
Unfortunately, things weren’t much better for the Fins on the defensive side of the pigskin. Miami’s resistance surrendered 19 first downs (7 passing, 9 rushing, 3 penalties), 296 yards of offense (174 rushing yards, 122 passing yards), and a 40-spot on the board.
Ravens running back Alex Collins (18 carries, 113 yards) ran absolutely wild, while quarterback Joe Flacco (10-for-15, 101 yards, TD, 107.9 QBR) and Ryan Mallett (3-for-7, 20 yards, TD, 89.9 QBR) held their end of the bargain. On the receiving end of Baltimore’s touchdown passes were Jeremy Maclin (3 catches, 53 yards, TD) and Benjamin Watson (2 catches, 6 yards, TD), while Nick Boyle pitched in with 4 receptions for 30 yards.
“In think a lot of self-inflicted wounds was probably the main cause,” said Cameron Wake after the game. “As much as that’s frustrating, that’s probably the easiest thing to fix –just getting back on the right page as far as being where you’re supposed to be.”
Special Teams: F
On a night where no one could get anything going, kicker Cody Parkey’s perfect start to his rookie season came to a screeching halt. After a perfect 8-for-8 start, the Auburn product finally missed a field goal, as he failed to avoid the shutout.
Punter Matt Haack certainly had a very busy night, as he closed the festivities with 8 punts for an average of 41 yards per boot, with his longest punt going for 50 yards.
It’s very difficult to place all the blame on the Dolphins coaching staff, but there’s clearly enough blame to go around after this one. Miami got off to its usual slow start, which is something that needs to be addressed immediately.
Sure, as the Comeback Kids, they’ve made a name for themselves. However Thursday night, there was no pixie dust that could’ve gotten Miami out of the hole it dug for itself.
The fact that the Ravens were last in the league in rushing yards allowed was an area the Fins clearly needed to exploit. The play-calling was not only uninspiring but predictable on the ground and through the air.
In a nutshell, Gase and his staff simply had no answers for John Harbaugh & Co., as they were severely outcoached, and it showed.
Next up: Fins return home to take on surging Raiders
Miami will go from the pot to the frying pan, as the surging Oakland Raiders are on-deck in Week 9. This game will take place at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida Sunday night (Nov. 5) at 8:30 p.m. ET.