Despite only having three active wide receivers, the Baltimore Ravens used four Justin Tucker field goals, including the go ahead score with 1:42 remaining to earn a hard fought 26-23 victory over the Miami Dolphins. Ray Rice scored twice on the ground while Terrell Suggs recorded three sacks in the game.
The Ravens pass rush showed up when they needed it the most as a crucial sack by Elvis Dumervil pushed the Dolphins back to the brink of impossible field goal range with a five yard loss. Dolphins' kicker Caleb Sturgis then had to attempt a 57 yard game tying field goal, but his line drive missed wide left to secure the victory for the Ravens.
Baltimore released Brandon Stokley earlier in the weekend to make room on the roster for Billy Bajema, and Jacoby Jones and Marlon Brown were ruled inactive on game day due to injuries, leaving just Torrey Smith, Deonte Thompson and Tandon Doss as the only active wide receivers for the Ravens.
The wide receivers were not the issue yesterday for the Baltimore offense, it was the offensive line as quarterback Joe Flacco was consistently under pressure, while the there were few running lanes opened for the Ravens running back. The one interception that Flacco threw on the day came in the fourth quarter on a third down with his back to his own goaline and was hit as he threw it and the ball fluttered into the hands of Miami's Reshad Jones and he returned it 25 yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 23.
"Stuff happens," Flacco said. "You get mad at yourself for a couple of seconds, then you go to the sideline to regroup."
"Joe never gets fazed," coach John Harbaugh said. "He's not going to get rattled."
Flacco completed three passes for 40+ yards in the game and finished the game completing 19 of his 32 pass attempts for 269 yards with one interception.
Last week the Ravens completely abandon the running game, but despite few holes being opened for Rice and Bernard Pierce most of the day, Baltimore continued to pound the rock running the ball 40 times in the game and finishing up with 133 total rushing yards. The Ravens may have only had a 3.3 yards per carry average yesterday, but continuing to run the ball helped out Flacco by keeping Miami from simply being able to pin their ears back and rush the passer.
Rice finished the game with 74 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries, while Pierce carried the ball 11 times for 46 yards.
Baltimore's pass rush wound up being the star of the game as they exposed the Dolphins offensive line and accrued six sacks in the game. Suggs led the way defensively racking up three sacks in the game to give him seven sacks on the season and he has now had at least one sack in every game the Ravens have played this season. Courtney Upshaw, Pernell McPhee and Dumervil also picked up a sack each in the win.
The victory allowed Baltimore to keep pace in the AFC North as the Bengals and Browns also won this week and all three teams remain tied atop the AFC North at 3-2. This was a good win for this football team as they continued to fight and managed to have a decent day passing the ball with just three healthy wide receivers. Baltimore will now begin preparations for week six as they host the Green Bay Packers on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.
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