Ravens-Dolphins Alex Collins

Ravens Retrospective Review: Week 8 Victory over the Miami Dolphins

I am so glad that the Baltimore Ravens blew out the Miami Dolphins out, 40-0. I’m happy not just because my favorite NFL team played well, but because the Dolphins got destroyed. You see, normally I don’t despise any opposing teams, aside from the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cinncinati Bengals. However, the Dolphins managed to get on to my list of despised franchises. If you watched the Thursday Night Beatdown, you know why I loathe the Dolphins. They played dirty, and purposely so. Linebacker and public enemy number one in Baltimore, Kiko Alonso, tackled Joe Flacco, hitting his shoulder on Flacco’s head, while Flacco was sliding. The play was obviously flagrant, as Alonso lowered his shoulder towards Flacco’s head as Flacco was going down. That took Flacco out with a concussion. He obviously did not return. Here’s a link to a YouTube video of the play, but be warned, it is gut-wrenching. This play was only the beginning. Later on in the game, notorious dirty player Ndamukong Suh decided to put Ryan Mallet in a chokehold, and William Hayes decided to poke Austin Howard in the eyes. These two incidents happened on the same play. Needless to say, the Dolphins embarrassed themselves on Thursday night, both on the field, and on the scoreboard. Here’s our in-depth review, on how the Ravens were able to pummel the Dolphins, in Baltimore’s best performance all season.

Will the real Ravens offense, please stand up?

This Baltimore Ravens offense is like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. During the day, it is calm and boring. During the night, however, the offense is a wild beast, beating down opponents. In the first half, the offense was lead by Joe Flacco and the passing attack. Then, in the second half with Flacco absent, the Ravens relied on the ground game as their main point of attack. Both phases of the offense were very effective for the Ravens, as they were able to put up three touchdowns on offense.

Ravens Passing Attack

The Baltimore Ravens passing attack under the leadership of Joe Flacco was much better this week than previous weeks. The return of Jeremy Maclin was a huge boost for the passing attack. The Ravens featured Maclin early in the game, and Joe Flacco was able to find him on a deep route for the first touchdown of the game. Maclin had missed the previous two games, against the Bears and Vikings. In the last two games Maclin has played, the Ravens have put up 30 and 40 points respectively. Without Maclin, the offense has struggled. By the time Flacco exited the game, he had already completed 10 of 15 passes, for 101 yards. With Flacco out, the Ravens turned to Ryan Mallet. Mallet was only called upon to pass the ball 7 times, completing 3 passes for 20. One of which was a touchdown to Benjamin Watson. (The touchdown came on the same drive as Kiko Alonso’s hit and Watson had beat Alonso on his route for the touchdown.) If Flacco had not been hit, the passing game would have continued to produce into the second half. The Ravens had no real reason to keep Mallet passing anyway, as the Ravens had a 20-0 lead, shortly after he entered the game.

Ravens Rushing Attack

This game was officially Alex Collin’s coming out party to the NFL. Collins has generated excitement in and around Baltimore, but most NFL fans had yet to learn about the Irish dancing running back. Collins had a stellar game, rushing for 113 yards, on just 18 carries, an average of 6.3 yards per carry. Javorius Allen also had a nice night rushing the football, carrying the ball 17 times, for 55 yards, an average of 3.2 yards per carry. The Ravens rushing attack fulfilled my prediction, as Collins and Allen combined for over 150 yards on the ground. They were able to do this, without either scoring a touchdown. Buck Allen did come close to scoring a touchdown, but he fumbled the ball near the pylon, and Chris Moore picked it up for the score. Alex Collins’ impressive night was filled with great movement. He was able to escape tackles, and bounce around for more yards. This is what the Ravens rushing attack has been missing since their last good season in 2014. Collins is now becoming a star in Baltimore. The more he succeeds, the more Baltimore will succeed.

Ravens Offensive Line

The one disappointment on the Ravens offense was the offensive line. The offensive line didn’t play terribly bad, but they didn’t play very well either. In the first half, Flacco was consistently pressured while he was in the game, and had to escape the pocket multiple times. Collins and Allen also got hit in the backfield multiple times on their run. In the second half, the line performed better. This, however, came after the Ravens were already up 20-0 on the Dolphins. By far, the best player on the offensive line was Ryan Jensen, who played well most of the game. The offensive line played well enough to win, but they need to improve going forward. It will be interesting to see how they will fare against the Tennessee Titans next Sunday.

Ravens Defense Pitches Shutout

For the second time this season, the Ravens defense pitched a shutout. The first came against the Cinncinati Bengals, in the first game of the season. In their loss on Thursday, the Dolphins suffered their second shutout of the game, the first coming from the Saints earlier in the season. All phases of the defense improved, allowing for such a great game for the Ravens. The pass defense, rush defense, and pass rush, all were effective in Baltimore’s win over Miami.

Ravens Passing Defense

The Ravens passing defense played very, very well against the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins had to turn to their backup quarterback, Matt Moore, who has had success in the past. He had no success on Thursday, as he threw the ball 44 times, but only completed 25 passes, for just 176 yards. Moore was also picked off twice, each returned for six points. The first was intercepted by inside linebacker C.J. Mosley, and the second by cornerback Jimmy Smith. The Ravens secondary has been their strong point on defense this season, and obviously, it was a major strength on Thursday night. Tony Jefferson, who had been much of a disappointment this season, had an outstanding night, playing as well as the Ravens had hoped he would when they signed him. Overall, if the Ravens secondary can continue to shut down opposing air attacks, the Ravens defense will continue to dominate.

Ravens Rush Defense

Going into the game, the Ravens had to find an answer to the Jay train, Jay Ajayi, if they wanted to win. Up until this point, the Ravens were dead last in the league in rush defense, giving up the most yards out of all 32 NFL clubs. However, everything changed in defensive tackle Brandon Williams’ second game back from injury. Jay Ajayi, on his first run, ran for 21 yards, in the rest of his 12 carries, he only rushed for two total yards. Not 20, not 12, but 2. The Ravens run defense buckled down and got the job done in the trenches. This, again, has a lot to do with safety Tony Jefferson, who was previously failing to stop the run, especially in the loss to the Vikings. In Thursday’s victory, Jefferson was all over the field, and was a major presence in rush defense. The Ravens defense totaled 12 tackles for loss, compared to the Dolphins’ 3. Baltimore was lead by Brandon Williams, with 4 tackles for loss, and Matthew Judon with 2. Overall, the Ravens run defense was able to effectively shut down Miami’s only real offensive production.

Ravens Pass Rush

The Ravens pass rush dropped Matt Moore 3 times, and hit him 4 more times. The Ravens pass rush played very well against the Dolphins offensive line. C.J Mosley and Za’Darius Smith combined for one sack, while Anthony Levine Sr. and Tyus Bowser each notched their own sack. The Ravens defense was able to keep Matt Moore pressured throughout the game, which was a major part of their winning effort. Typically, pressure on a backup quarterback standing in for the starter is going to be a greater force than pressure on a regular starting quarterback. This held true in Baltimore’s win over Miami, as Moore was hurried, and made bad passes all night.

The Verdict

This was the Baltimore Ravens’ best performance all season. Both the offense and defense played much better than they usually did, and Baltimore dominated Miami all game. The Ravens passing attack dominated the first half, while the rushing attack dominated the second half. The Ravens defense gave fits to Matt Moore, and stuffed Jay Ajayi all game long. For their outstanding performance, I give both sides of the Ravens an A+ grade. It was an unbelievable game from both sides and a very important win for the Baltimore Ravens, as it keeps their playoff hopes alive.

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