Lamar Jackson and the Ravens Can’t Handle the Dolphins in Primetime

On paper Thursday nights Ravens, Dolphins matchup was expected to be lopsided in the Ravens favor. But, that’s why they play the game as the Dolphins hounded Jackson and the Ravens offense all night on route to a shocking 22-10 win. The Ravens came into Thursday as one of the top offenses in the NFL, but the Dolphins defense did not back down. The Dolphins pressured Jackson as he faced a blitz by a defensive back on 24 of 48 dropbacks, the most since 2015. While the Ravens offense struggled to get much of anything going the defense once again struggled, as the secondary broke down on several occasions leading to big plays for the Dolphins.

The Ravens looked poised to get off to a quick start on offense for the first time all year. On the Ravens opening possession of the game the Ravens moved the ball down field lead by running back Devonta Freeman. A delay of game penalty on second down moved the Ravens back from a third and manageable to a third and long. A Jackson incomplete pass on third down would force the drive to end with 46-yard Justin Tucker field goal.

The defense came out much stronger then they have in recent weeks forcing a Dolphins punt after an Odafe Oweh sack on third down.

Jackson and the Ravens offense returned to the field looking to put more points on the board. Jackson found Andrews on the fourth play of the drive for 15-yards down to the Dolphins 37. Two plays later Jackson found Marquise Brown on a short pass for seven yards. Brown would come up short of the first down again forcing the Ravens to attempt a field goal. Tucker lined up for a 48-yard field goal but a rare miss wide right would keep the score 3-0.

Neither offense had much success early as both teams traded two punts each, before the Dolphins got on the board. Jacoby Brissett got the start for the second straight week in place of an injured Tua Tagovailoa. Brissett lead a 10 play 46 yard drive ending in a 31-yard field goal to tie the game up 3-3.

The Ravens offense would fail to score in the second quarter with neither drive lasting longer than four plays. The Dolphins on the other hand would grab the lead right before halftime. From their own 33 yard line. Brissett found his receiver Isaiah Ford wide open for 52-yards down to the Ravens 15 yard line, the Dolphins first 50+ yard play of the season. With five seconds left in the half from the Baltimore four yard line, Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders connected on his second field goal to give the Dolphins a 6-3 lead into the half.

While the Ravens went into the half having played their worst half of football all season, they were still in it. The Ravens defense came out on the third quarter looking to quickly give the ball back to Lamar Jackson and their offense. The Dolphins quickly went three and out. Ravens linebacker Justin Houston got his 100th career sack as he brought down Brissett on third down. During the sack Brissett’s knee twisted awkwardly, the veteran quarterback writhed in pain grabbing his knee before eventually walking slowly off the field.

The Ravens offense once again failed to score in a quarter running a disappointing 14 plays for 22 yards in the third quarter. Regular starter Tua Tagovailoa, who didn’t start the game but was dressed in case of emergency relieved Brissett after he went down with a knee injury. While Tagovailoa struggled much like Brissett, he lead a late third quarter scoring drive. Another Jason Sanders field goal, this time good from 29-yards would give the Dolphins a stunning 9-3 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

While it looked like the Ravens offense couldn’t play any worse they made their first huge mistake that put them even further behind. On the Ravens first possession of the fourth quarter, Jackson found Sammy Watkins on a quick slant. Watkins caught the ball but it was quickly knocked out of his hands by Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard. Howard picked up his own forced fumble returning it 49-yards for the first touchdown of the game.

After a Sam Koch punt followed by a Dolphins punt on their next possession, the Ravens returned to the field down 15-3 needing to get something going on offense. Backed up on their own one yard line, a roughing the passer penalty on the Dolphins gave the Ravens some breathing room from their own goal line. Jackson used his arm to drive the Ravens offense down the field. Another roughing the passer penalty moved the ball to the Dolphins 37 yard line. Jackson found rookie receiver Rashod Bateman four plays later for 20-yards down to the Dolphins five yard line. On the very next play Jackson hit tight end Mark Andrews for five yards, the Ravens first touchdown of the night.

The Ravens looked in position for another late comeback, but Tagovailoa and the Dolphins offense had other ideas. On the second play of the drive Dolphins receiver Albert Wilson went in motion. A miscommunication in the Ravens secondary allowed Wilson to slip out of the backfield uncovered not being brought down until reaching the Ravens 11 yard line, a 64-yard completion. Four plays later Tagovailoa finished off the most impressive drive of the game with a one yard sneak up the middle.

Down now 22-10, the Ravens took over with a little over two minutes remaining in desperation mode. The hopes of a Ravens win looked bleak, as they methodically moved down the field. Jackson got the Ravens down to the Dolphins seven yard line, but on third down Jackson, who had no time all night was pushed out to his right throwing up a pass to Bateman. Dolphins cornerback Justin Coleman was in great position intercepting the pass in the end zone, all but ending a terrible night for the Ravens.

The Ravens have 11 days off before returning to the field to take on the Chicago Bear and rookie quarterback Justin Fields.

Game Notes:

Ravens rookie receiver Rashod Bateman had 6 catches for 80 yards.

Marlon Humphrey lead the Ravens with seven tackles.

The Dolphins had three receivers go over 50 yards receiving (Waddle, Ford, Wilson).

The Dolphins had 11 penalties for 97 yards, compared to just four penalties for 20 yards.

The Ravens converted only two third downs on 14 attempts.

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