Dolphins walloped by Ravens, win streak comes to screeching halt
BALTIMORE (AP) — Filled with the confidence that comes from a six-game winning streak, the Miami Dolphins rolled into town prepared to launch a December to remember.
As dusk arrived Sunday, the Dolphins somberly packed their bags following their most lopsided defeat of the season, a 38-6 bashing by the Baltimore Ravens.
Miami gave up touchdowns on Baltimore’s first two possessions, fell behind 24-0 at halftime and staggered to the finish.
The lowlights: Ryan Tannehill’s three interceptions, plus a defense that gave up 496 yards and four touchdown passes and allowed the Ravens to average 7.1 yards per offensive play.
"We just did nothing to get us going," first-year coach Adam Gase lamented. "And then all of a sudden, we’re behind. It’s tough to battle back against a team like this."
The Dolphins (7-5) hadn’t lost a game since Oct. 9. For six straight outings, they used the same formula to win: a solid running game, few turnovers and a stout job by the defense.
None of those qualities was on display against the Ravens, who plowed to their fourth win in five games with surprising ease.
"We got punched in the mouth today," offensive tackle Branden Albert said. "Are we going to continue to get punched in the mouth, or are you going to do something about it?"
Gase, naturally, will direct his players to take the latter approach.
"Go back to work. That’s what we have to do," he said. "Nobody likes losing. I know our guys are really battling. We just did not make any plays."
It was pretty much the exact opposite of what had been happening during the six-game winning streak.
"Seems like every week, we’ve usually had something happen that could get things heading in the right direction," Gase said. "We went the wrong way today. It was just one thing after another. We didn’t execute, and they pounced all over it."
The Ravens twice converted fourth-down plays before scoring touchdowns. They took advantage of Tannehill’s interceptions — he threw only one during the six-game streak — and they benefited from seven penalties totaling 57 yards.
Then there was an 18-play drive by Baltimore that took over nine minutes and wore down a defense that was already on its heels.
"That was very tough," linebacker Mike Huff said. "In that situation we have to find a way to get off the field. But they kept executing, and they converted too many third downs."
Joe Flacco shredded the Miami defense with four TD passes while completing 36 of 47 passes for 381 yards.
"When they were playing zone there were some holes in there, and I had time to sit back there and drill them with it," he said.
Miami got its only touchdown came after a fumble recovery gave the offense the ball at the 8-yard line. That made it 24-6 early in the fourth quarter, and naturally, the 2-point conversion pass came up short.
All is not lost for the Dolphins, who were bidding to win a seventh straight for the first time since 1985. That didn’t happen, but they’re still very much in the playoff hunt.
"We have four games left," Tannehill said. "Everything we want is still in front of us. We just have to reset and correct our mistakes. We’ll be ready to go next week."