The Miami Dolphins, whether they had the playoff jitters or were just happy to be in a playoff game, happened to have the good misfortune of having the Baltimore Ravens as their first-round opponents in the AFC playoffs. And if performance on the field had anything to do with the final outcome, I would have to say that the Dolphins were in over their heads. Miami quarterback Chad Pennington threw four interceptions – one returned for a touchdown – while the Ravens defense held the Dolphins to 276 total yards. The end result of this massacre was Baltimore thoroughly annihilating Miami at Dolphin Stadium 27-9.
Ed Reed shone brightly for the Baltimore secondary as he has a pair of interceptions, returning one of them for a touchdown. But first things first; the first quarter was one of attrition as little offense was generated and the only scoring was a pair of field goals – one by Dan Carpenter and one by Matt Stover, which tied things up at 3 going into the second quarter. The second period brought the aforementioned interception by Reed – returned 64 yards for a score – and a 23-yard FG by Stover, which put Baltimore up 13-3, which would be their lead going into halftime.
The Ravens would add to their lead when running back Le’Ron McClain scored from 8 yards out, giving Baltimore a 20-3; the Dolphins would not recover thereafter. Joe Flacco had a rotten day for the Ravens – although they didn’t suffer from it – as he went 9-of-23 for 135 yards while the Dolphins’ Pennington didn’t do much better as he went 25-of-38 for 252 with a TD and 4 INTs.
McClain led the Ravens’ potent running game with 75 yards on 19 carries and a TD while Willis McGahee added 62 yards on only 7 carries; Ronnie Brown was the leader of the Dolphins rushing attack, although he managed only 19 yards on 12 carries. Derrick Mason led the Ravens’ receivers with 4 receptions for 75 yards while the Dolphins’ Patrick Cobbs caught four for 55 yards. Baltimore continures on the playoff trail, when they travel to Nashville to face the Titans next Saturday at 4:30 PM (EST).
One thing that can be said about the Dolphins – yes they got demolished at home by the Ravens. However, it can only get better for them as they have a solid foundation of players on their roster and a Coach of the Year in Tony Sparano. If they can retain Ricky Williams and make a smart decision about their future at QB, they should be in relatively good shape for the ‘09-’10 seaosn and beyond. Now pray that GM Bill Parcells doesn’t think he’s the second coming of George Steinbrenner and start meddling unnecessarily.