In what was a big test for both teams, we got the same old story with the Dolphins — they just couldn’t beat a big team when they really needed to. Now they’re two wins off the top two teams in their division, having already lost to both. Ouch.
They’d much rather be in the position of the Ravens right now, with the record to back up their performances, and established as one of the contenders for the Vince Lombardi Trophy in this most unusual of NFL years.
Still it’s not all rosy for the Ravens, as we’ll find out.
Dolphins: Three performances of note
It was a good day for the defensive line of the Dolphins, especially the duo of Paul Soliai (+3.0) and Randy Starks (+3.6). Soliai did a lot more than pick up a big sack, being a hard handle for the Ravens when they ran the ball inside. He picked up two further stops to go with another one from Starks, who is excelling back at end. He’s doing a bit of everything right now, but it was his one-sack, two-pressure day that stood out.
Meanwhile, it was the worst day we’ve seen in a while from Vontae Davis (-3.0). With some noticeably shabby tackling (two missed tackles) and giving up a touchdown (as well as five of the six balls thrown his way), Davis had a tough day with Derrick Mason. We’d look at this as an aberration from a normally reliable performer.
Normally a solid hand, Chad Henne (+1.6) needs to play better than this. He wasn’t great when he had time (7.6 yards per attempt) but when the Ravens pressured him he really struggled. He had a QB rating of just 6.0 on the 13 plays he faced pressure, and while that rating may not be the best way of measuring a QB’s effectiveness, the 22.2 percent completion rate and 4.4 yards per attempt are worth noting.
Ravens: Three performances of note
That was the kind of performance from Michael Oher (+2.7) that makes you think the move to the left side will work out. He gave up just a solitary pressure on 34 pass blocks and was even better with his run blocking. Big day, when you figured the Dolphins and Cameron Wake (who did most of his damage against Marshall Yanda) could expose him.
As good as Oher was, we have to give the best performer of the day award to Ray Rice (+3.2). Injuries have really affected Rice this year and he hasn’t really looked like the guy who exploded onto the scene last year as one of the best backs in the league. Still, if this game was anything to go by, then he’s back at his best. Picking up the hard yards in the running game (50 of his yards came after contact) and catching every ball thrown his way (with 94 yards after the catch), Rice shredded the Dolphins’ defense. Special mention to Willis McGahee (+3.1), who was a threat every time he touched the ball.
Now on to the bad for the Ravens, and it’s not often we’ll write about Ray Lewis (-4.3) having a stinker. He missed two tackles, only made one defensive stop and was the primary man in coverage for 43 of Henne’s yards. We’ve just come to expect more from Lewis, who was just a step behind when the Dolphins passed all game.
For Miami, guard John Jerry (-0.9) wasn’t great but isn’t embarrassing himself. He saw the majority of action at right guard. … With the Ravens not running a huge amount of three receiver sets, Koa Misi (-1.2) saw a lot of action but failed to impress — though he did pick up a quarterback hit and two defensive stops.
We got a brief glimpse of Terrance Cody for Baltimore, though the most noticeable thing was him almost getting pushed backwards and onto his backside in a display of technique over size.
The Ravens had four players who only played one snap on offense or defense. … Wake led the Dolphins in defensive stops with five.