Dolphins had no answer for Ravens running back Ray Rice

November 08, 2010|Mike Preston

Miami receiver Brandon Marshall said this game would be a defining moment for the Dolphins, and he was right. The Dolphins are still a year away from being serious contenders.

On a day when the Ravens had some red-zone issues in the first half, the Ravens still beat Miami by 16 points. Miami came into the game with a 4-3 record having gone undefeated on the road, but after the first quarter, they never seriously challenged the Ravens. After the Ravens shook off some rust from the bye week, they easily dispatched of the Dolphins.

Or better put, Miami put itself away. After running back Ronnie Brown rushed seven times for 47 yards in the first half, he carried only two times in the second. Miami's tackling was atrocious, its special team's play bizarre and the Dolphins didn't show enough confidence in Chad Henne as far as letting him throw downfield.

The worst part about the Dolphins is that they had no answer for Ravens running back Ray Rice, especially as a receiver out of the backfield. How can any team play the Ravens and not account for Rice?

Just to show you how stinking bad the Dolphins are, they still didn't have an answer for Rice after the game.

"No, for what?" said linebacker Karlos Dansby on whether the defense had a shadow for Rice. "Why would we shadow him? He didn't do anything. They checked down to him, but he was the last resort. Why would we need to shadow him?

Bill Belichick shadowed Rice and so did Marvin Lewis, but nah, not the ready-for-prime-time Dolphins.

Schoolyard behavior

Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder said Ravens fullback Le'Ron McClain spit in his, face which initiated their altercation in the third quarter. This came after Crowder walked across the line of scrimmage to call a timeout.

McClain denies spitting on Crowder, but if you look at the replay, it sure looks as if McClain spat on him, which is totally unacceptable in any situation. McClain has a temper, and it cost the Ravens a couple of weeks ago against New England.

It reminds you of former Ravens cornerback Frank Walker spitting on the Steelers holder/punter Mitch Berger two years ago. Sometimes you have to wonder if this is the NFL, or a children's playground.

You can't feel sorry for Crowder after he popped off about Ravens receiver Derrick Mason earlier this week, referring to Mason as a senior citizen.

Mason caught four passes for 42 yards, including one for a 12 yard touchdown Sunday. He saved his best torching for Crowder.

"The first stage of respect is don't disrespect your opponent and he disrespected his opponent early in the game," Mason said. "You got to be able to back up your talk and the guy just didn't back it up. He was out there talking and woofing, and we had to put him out of the game. Hopefully, after this game, he'll sit back and realize what type of player he truly is. He is not one of the elite players in the game."

Explaining a flag

Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata got called for a personal foul with 34 seconds left in the game after he crashed into Henne. Both Harbaugh and Ngata wondered why.

This is why: Because he hit Henne in the midsection, and he led with the crown of his helmet instead of at least going in facemask first.

Just pay the fine, big fella.

Wilson over Washington

Ravens cornerback Fabian Washington can't complain about not getting an opportunity to earn his starting job back.

After being benched in the fourth quarter of the Buffalo game two weeks ago, Washington started but was replaced by Josh Wilson in the second half Sunday. Washington didn't play as poorly as he did against the Bills, but he did get beat several times.

He earned his spot on the bench.

Marshall quits

All I needed to know about Marshall came with 6:23 left in the game. He ran a slant in and short-armed a high pass that was picked off by safety Ed Reed. Marshall didn't even try to make the catch because he was afraid of being hit by Ray Lewis.

A lot of Ravens fans wanted Marshall on the Ravens last season. The Ravens have some prima donnas on their roster, but they all play hard and block extremely well. Marshall quit on the Dolphins.

Faking punt talk?

Come on, John.

Harbaugh talked up special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg after the game as if he knew the Dolphins wouldn't cover the Ravens outside player on that punt in the third quarter that resulted in a Ravens first down.

"Jerry Rosburg does the best job I've seen of any special teams coach in this league of teaching all the situations and all the details and having guys coached up on those things," Harbaugh said.

Really.

"Me, Billy [Cundiff] and Morgan [Cox] kind of play around with it," said Sam Koch of fake punts, "but it's not like we do it a whole lot in practice."

Cameron improves

It looks as if offensive coordinator Cam Cameron has stuck with our suggestion to spread out the defense and run Joe Flacco on a quarterback draw. That screen pass to tight end Todd Heap was new as well, and the Ravens once ran Rice on the same play three straight times in the second half because the Dolphins were slow getting lined up.

Good stuff.

Now, about getting the plays in on time. What's up with that? That's just sloppy management. As a colleague suggested, maybe Cameron forget to turn his clock back an hour like the rest of us.

Teachable moment

The teaching moment of the game goes to the offensive line. On short-yardage runs, please have the back side step to the play side so a linebacker can't step into the gap and smash McClain for a 1-yard loss the way one did in the second quarter.

mike.preston@baltsun.com

Listen to Mike Preston on the "Bruce Cunningham Show" from noon to 2 p.m. on Monday and Friday on 105.7 FM.

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