Dolphins Lose A Tough One At Home To Ravens, 26-23

Posted Oct 6, 2013

Last-minute drive by Tannehill comes up short in the end.

Both defenses dictated the tone this afternoon at Sun Life Stadium with timely plays, but it was the Baltimore Ravens that had the last word with two key stops, escaping with a 26-23 win over the Miami Dolphins.

Miami had a chance to send the game into overtime in the final minute when rookie kicker Caleb Sturgis lined up to try a 57-yard field goal. He was a perfect 10-of-10 on the season coming in but his kick sailed wide to the left and Baltimore kneeled to end the game.

The Dolphins drop to 3-2 on the season headed into the bye week and Baltimore improved to 3-2.

“[There are] some good, some things that really need correcting and working on,” said Dolphins Head Coach Joe Philbin on where the team sits going into the bye. “I told the team we have an excellent group of men in the locker room and we’re going to fix the problems that we have. We’re not going to sweep them under the rug. We’re going to identify them, and find a way to improve.”

Second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill finished 21-of-40 for 307 yards and a touchdown and wide receiver Mike Wallace caught seven passes for 105 yards. Fellow wide receivers Brandon Gibson (four catches for 74 yards) and Brian Hartline (four catches for 60 yards) also got involved, as did tight end Charles Clay with three catches for 52 yards and a nine-yard touchdown.

Tannehill’s mobility was on display throughout the game as some of his most effective passes came on the run, including a 30-yarder to Hartline late in the first half that helped set up the scoring pass to Clay. His biggest completion came on the final drive on a 4th-and-10 with 1:30 remaining out of the shotgun. He was chased out of the pocket to his left and then pulled up and threw on the run deep to Gibson for a 46-yard completion down to the Ravens’ 34.

With the clock ticking down and out of timeouts, Tannehill spiked the ball on first down with 1:01 left and on 2nd-and-10 he was sacked by Elvis Dumervil for a 5-yard loss back to the 39. Tannehill missed Clay on the next play and on 4th-and-15, Sturgis came on to try what would have been his career long field goal. He had the distance but the ball never came back inside the uprights.

“Gibson made a heck of a catch downfield and was able to get behind everyone and that kind of put us on the edge of field goal range,” Tannehill said. “We just weren’t able to get anything going from there. They got some pressure on us on the second-down play after we rallied for the first down and on the third-down play they did a good job of taking away the primary route. I was trying to come back to Clay as a second receiver and they did a good job breaking it up.”

Dolphins safety Reshad Jones awoke the crowd with a 25-yard interception return for a touchdown with 8:03 left to tie the game after his team had fallen behind by 10 points. It was Jones’ first career touchdown and the first interception returned for a score by Miami since Kevin Burnett did so on December 4th, 2011 against the Oakland Raiders. It was also the first interception returned for a touchdown by a safety since Brock Marion ran one back 100 yards against Buffalo on January 6th, 2002.

But after Miami’s defense stopped the Ravens and forced a punt, Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs sacked Tannehill twice to force another punt and his quarterback, Joe Flacco, engineered what proved to be the game-winning scoring drive. Justin Tucker’s 44-yard field goal was the difference in the end as he finished 4-for-4 with a long of 50 yards on the afternoon.

In addition to sacking Tannehill six times, the Ravens made an adjustment at halftime in regards to how they were defending Wallace, who had six catches for 99 yards in the first two quarters. As a result, he managed just one reception for six yards in the second half, as he was facing what Tannehill described as a “soft cover 2,” which was designed to take away the deep routes down the sideline.

“We have got to get better, honestly we have got to get better,” Wallace said. “They did a good job adjusting and they made some plays in the second half and we didn’t. We make plays but we have to make some more. We make some plays sometimes and we stall. So we have to do a better job of moving the ball, even if we don’t score on those drives. We need to do a better job of not going three and out so much.”

Left guard Richie Incognito echoed Wallace’s statement as it pertains to the offensive line.

“I think coming up on a bye week is a chance for us to come up for some air,” Incognito said. “Evaluate what’s working and what’s not working and just come back and hit the ground running. Sitting here right after the game I can’t tell you what’s wrong, but we just have to figure out what is working and build on those things we are doing right.”
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