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RAVENS NOTEBOOK

McGahee has another strong performance in hometown

Cameron also has successful return

Ravens Gameday

October 20, 2008|By Jamison Hensley and David Steele | Jamison Hensley and David Steele and,jamison.hensley@baltsun.com and david.steele@baltsun.com

MIAMI - Willis McGahee continues to make himself at home in South Florida.

The Ravens running back rushed for 105 yards and his first touchdown of the season in the 27-13 victory over the Miami Dolphins.

Not surprisingly, it was McGahee's first 100-yard game since the last time he played here (Dec. 16, 2007). The former University of Miami star has averaged 94.4 rushing yards in four games at Dolphin Stadium.

"It's always a good feeling when you play in your hometown," he said. "I've been playing every year since I've been in the league. It tends to get a little old. But you still have a little fire in you."

It was the best game of the season for McGahee, who had 152 yards of offense.

But it was his play in the passing game that led to what he called "the worst highlight of my career."

After making a remarkable run off a screen pass, McGahee fumbled at Miami's 5-yard line when the Ravens led 20-13 early in the fourth quarter.

On the next series, McGahee capped the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run.

"[The fumble] could have turned the game around. But the defense stepped up and made up for it," McGahee said. "I had to go out there and make a touchdown."

Game ball for Cameron

After downplaying Cam Cameron's return to Dolphin Stadium, the Ravens revealed the importance of the game when John Harbaugh gave the game ball to his offensive coordinator.

It was Cameron's first game back to South Florida since being fired as the Dolphins' head coach last season.

"You think it's not going to be [emotional] because you're focused on trying to win a game," said Cameron, who plans to give the game ball to his family. "Then, if you're any kind of competitor, you feel like you have something to prove. The emotions just come out, and there's not a lot you can do about it."

Mason finds the end zone

Derrick Mason's first touchdown of the season - which also was Joe Flacco's second career touchdown pass and his first to a wide receiver - came with 30 seconds left in the first half. It also came long after his last score.

"I don't know. When was it?" he asked afterward. "I only had five last year, so I should remember it. Maybe the fifth-to-last game of the year?"

He actually did catch one in Week 13, against the New England Patriots, but his most recent touchdown before the 11-yarder yesterday was in Week 16, a 79-yarder from Troy Smith at Seattle, seven games ago.

"You know, it doesn't really matter to me, because the touchdowns will come," said Mason, who has 48 career touchdown receptions, 11 as a Raven. "They came today. The offense is coming together. We're putting drives together. We're putting ourselves in position to score touchdowns. The only thing getting in our way is turnovers."

Dolphins' scheme: Mildcat

The Dolphins lined up in some variation of their famed "Wildcat" formation seven times and netted 24 yards, including just 7 yards on six rushes. The most notable attempt was with 4:55 left and trailing by 14, on a third-and-10 play from the Ravens' 22. Ronnie Brown took a direct snap and flipped to Patrick Cobbs on a reverse to the left, but Terrell Suggs and Frank Walker led a swarm of defenders who took Cobbs down after only a 3-yard gain. The Dolphins came up short on fourth down, and the Ravens ran off all but the final 61 seconds.

The way the Ravens defended, keeping so many players in the box, covering the edges while still filling the running lanes inside, took the Wildcat away as an option, Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said. "You're not going to force a square peg into a round hole," he said.

The Ravens spent about 10 percent of their time last week preparing for it, Harbaugh said, to match the ratio the Miami offense uses it. The principles to defend well against were simple when the Ravens defenders described it.

"It's still one football, no matter how many formations," Ray Lewis said. "That's what I kept my defense's focus on - it's only one football, no matter who's carrying it. Just carry out our assignments."

Trevor Pryce put it even more simply. "We all run real fast," he said.

End zone

This marked the Ravens' first regular-season win at DolphinStadium. ... Flacco's 11-yard pass to Mason ended the Ravens' offensive touchdown drought at 18 drives. ... The Ravens' Sam Koch placed all three punts inside the 20-yard line and averaged 59 yards. ... Troy Smith was the Ravens' No. 2 quarterback for the first time this season. Todd Bouman was listed as No. 3. ... In a rare occurrence, the Ravens reported no injuries after the game. ... The Ravens' inactives were: returner Yamon Figurs; cornerbacks Samari Rolle and Derrick Martin; safety Dawan Landry; offensive tackle Adam Terry; wide receiver Marcus Smith and defensive tackle Lamar Divens.

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