Ravens' defense shuts down Dolphins
Billy Cundiff kicked four field goals, and the Ravens forced three turnovers in a 26-10 victory Sunday that ended the Dolphins' unbeaten run on the road.
Baltimore (6-2) won its seventh straight home game behind Cundiff and a defense that blanked Miami (4-4) after halftime. Cundiff connected from 26, 39, 20, 24 yards, and the Ravens limited the Dolphins to 24 yards rushing over the final 30 minutes.
''I think it was important we come in and protect our home the way we did,'' Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis said. ''I just love the way we came out and played today.''
Miami quarterback Chad Henne went 22 for 34 for 231 yards and three interceptions. The Dolphins also had only 10 players on the field upon being victimized by a fake punt and never really got in sync on offense.
''I think it's obvious: Right now, we can't beat the great teams, we can't beat the good teams,'' said Miami receiver Brandon Marshall, who was limited to five catches for 30 yards. ''I can't put my finger on it. We just shoot ourselves in the foot.''
Miami came in 4-0 on the road, but the Ravens were not impressed. Baltimore never trailed and pulled away after taking a 13-10 halftime lead.
The Dolphins allowed 402 yards on a whopping 71 plays and failed to produce a turnover. The Ravens finished with a 16-minute advantage in time of possession thanks heavily to the running of Ray Rice, who gained 83 yards on 22 carries and had seven catches for 97 yards.
''It was a ridiculous performance by our defense,'' Miami linebacker Channing Crowder said. ''It was too easy for them.''
Crowder and the Ravens were involved in a shoving match that he contended started when Baltimore running back Le'Ron McClain spit in his face.
Afterward, Ravens receiver Derrick Mason went on a rant directed at Crowder, who called Mason ''old'' in the days leading up to the game.
''I don't even think they want him on this team, but they have nobody to replace him so he has to be there,'' Mason said. ''They took him out of the game, they played a bit better. He was getting knocked down, getting pushed out of the way. The guy is horrible.''
Joe Flacco completed 20 of 27 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns for the Ravens, who are 6-0 at home since 2001 after a bye.
''We did a great job all day. I don't know if you can even point to one drive,'' Flacco said. ''We really drove the ball well all day.''
Baltimore went up 20-10 by moving 81 yards for a touchdown on its first possession of the third quarter. Rice caught three passes for 61 yards before Flacco hit Mason in the end zone from 12 yards.
Minutes later, Baltimore used a fake punt to get to the Miami 26. But Cundiff missed a 37-yard field goal.
The Dolphins then moved downfield before Dan Carpenter was wide left on a 46-yard field goal try, ending a run of 14 straight successful attempts.
Cundiff added a field goal with 6:45 left, and an interception by Ed Reed set up Cundiff's final 3-pointer with 2:07 to go.
Baltimore scored a touchdown on its opening possession for the first time this season. The drive ended when Willis McGahee took a screen pass from Flacco, broke free behind a block by Ben Grubbs and weaved his way to a 32-yard score.
Miami then became the first team to score a touchdown on its opening drive against the Ravens. Ronnie Brown carried six times for 45 yards, including a 12-yard TD run.
But Brown would gain only 14 more yards on the ground, and the Dolphins never got close to the end zone again.
''I think it was just a collective effort where we just didn't get it done offensively,'' Henne said.
After a 26-yard field goal by Cundiff put Baltimore up 10-7, Lardarius Webb went 32 yards with an interception to the Miami 4. Baltimore was pushed back to the 20 before holder Sam Koch muffed the snap on a field goal try.
The Dolphins were forced to punt, and a 10-play drive by the Ravens ended with a field goal for a 13-7 lead.
Later in the half, Miami moved 79 yards to the Baltimore 1, before Carpenter kicked a field goal.
That, however, would be the extent of the Dolphins' scoring.
''We can't slip back any further,'' Henne said. ''We're 4-4 and the place where we want to go, we've got to win some of these games and go on a good roll.''
Notes: Ravens WR Donte' Stallworth made his season debut after missing seven weeks with a broken foot. He did not catch a pass. ... Webb's interception was the first of his career. ... Miami S Tyrone Culver left with an ankle injury in the second quarter and did not return. ... Miami's Paul Soliai recorded his first career sack in the second quarter.