Ravens-Dolphins Preview

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill and Baltimore Ravens
quarterback Joe Flacco are both likely eager to get back on the
field after Week 4 losses.

They probably just want it to hurt a little less when they
square off Sunday in Miami.

Tannehill has been sacked a league-high 18 times, including four
in Monday night’s 38-17 loss to New Orleans, and the Ravens’ 23-20
defeat to Buffalo last Sunday prompted general manager Ozzie
Newsome to trade for offensive line help.

The problem has been there all year for the Dolphins (3-1), but
it has received more attention in the week following the loss to
the Saints than it did following their three wins.

“It’s a big concern,” coach Joe Philbin said. “Eighteen sacks is
4 1/2 a game. That’s too many.”

Flacco has been sacked 12 times, tied for the seventh-most, and
he was dropped four times against the Bills while also throwing a
career-high five interceptions. On top of that, the Ravens (2-2)
are 28th in rushing with 64.0 yards per game and tied for last in
the league with 2.6 yards per carry.

“I think the whole O-line is disappointing right now,” coach
John Harbaugh said. “There’s no one more disappointed than they are
right now. We’ve got to run block better, we’ve got to pass block
better.”

It led Newsome to acquire left tackle Eugene Monroe from
Jacksonville on Tuesday for a pair of 2014 draft picks.

The Ravens abandoned the running game against the Bills,
attempting a franchise-low nine rushes.

“I just felt like we weren’t running the ball well enough to win
the game running the ball,” Harbaugh said. “Looking back on it, I
feel the same way. After watching the tape, I feel we did exactly
the right thing to try to win that game.”

Running back Ray Rice has 89 yards on 30 attempts in three
games, and Bernard Pierce leads the team with 151 yards on 56
rushes.

Miami ranks 10th in rushing defense, holding opponents to 98.5
yards per game. It limited the Saints to 68 yards on the ground,
but Drew Brees more than made up for it with 413 yards passing and
four touchdowns.

The Ravens suffered through a similarly humbling loss in Week 1
to the Broncos, but they’ve responded by allowing 38 points in
three games since Peyton Manning’s seven-touchdown night.

Flacco acknowledged the 23 points they gave up to the Bills
weren’t all on the defense.

“A lot of that falls on me today and just throwing the ball to
the wrong team,” Flacco said. “If we don’t do that, then this game
probably looks a little different.”

While turnovers were an issue for both teams in Week 4, neither
has been particularly impressive taking the ball away. The Ravens
have six and a minus-2 differential and the Dolphins have seven and
a minus-1.

“That’s something we have to get corrected,” Philbin said after
his team turned the ball over four times against the Saints. “I
reminded the players the last time the Dolphins won the division
(in 2008), they had a plus-17 turnover margin for the season.
That’s something we need to start heading toward.”

The Dolphins would also like to see an improvement in the
chemistry between Tannehill and wide receiver Mike Wallace, who is
fourth on the team in receptions (15) and yards (176).

Torrey Smith, Flacco’s No. 1 target, is third in the league in
receiving yards with 435 on 21 catches. His 20.7 yards-per-catch
average is second in the NFL.

Who Flacco’s other receiving options will be Sunday is still up
in the air. Jacoby Jones has missed the last three games with a
sprained right MCL while Marlon Brown injured his thigh last
week.

Baltimore has lost four straight regular-season road games
despite winning playoff games in Denver and New England last year
on its way to the Super Bowl.

Miami has won three in a row at home and is seeking its first
4-1 start since 2003.