Ravens snap losing streak in win over Dolphins

Street Talk Ravens snap losing streak in win over Dolphins

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MIAMI
— Terrell Suggs glanced upward at the JumboTron, watching his journey toward the end zone in real time even though it felt like slow motion to the Baltimore Ravens’ outside linebacker after jumping in front of an errant Chad Pennington swing pass.


 

Although the Miami Dolphins were gaining on him during his 44-yard interception return, Suggs eluded their grasp to remain untouched in notching his first NFL touchdown. The game-changing play altered the momentum of the contest permanently in the second quarter, punctuating the Ravens’ 27-13 victory Sunday at Dolphin Stadium that snaps a three-game losing streak.

                                   

“It’s sad to say I almost got caught again,” said Suggs, who had cornerback Frank Walker running interference for him. “I was looking at the JumboTron and I’m not Ed Reed, so I don’t know that feeling. It looked like that first 10 or 15 yards took forever.

 

“I heard they almost got me. I got in there, and I think it changed the outcome of the game.”


 

After crashing into Pennington on a safety blitz that nearly sacked the quarterback, Jim Leonhard laid on the ground and listened.


 

“All I heard was the crowd, because I couldn’t see what was happening,” Leonhard said. “That’s how I knew something good had happened. I was surprised he threw it."


 

This marks the first road win in a year for the Ravens, halting a seven-game losing streak away from M&T Bank Stadium that dates back to a 9-7 squeaker over the



San Francisco
49ers on
Oct. 7, 2007.


 

It’s also the Ravens’ first win in five trips to



Miami
, and may prove to be a pivotal outcome one year removed from a franchise-record nine-game losing streak.


 

“It was very important, it was going to make or break our season,” Suggs said. “When you lose three or four games in a row, players are only human and they stop believing. We’ve got guys believing. We had to get a win.”


 

Besides Suggs’ touchdown giving



Baltimore
an early 10-3 advantage, the Ravens’ offense contributed four scoring drives of 42, 67, 67 and 68 yards. Each time-consuming drive lasted at least nine plays.


 

Rookie quarterback Joe Flacco threw his second touchdown pass of the season and didn’t commit a turnover.


 

Using the no-huddle offense, Flacco completed 17 of 23 passes for 232 yards for a career-high 120.2 quarterback rating.


 

During the end of the first half, Flacco engineered an eight-play drive he capped with a strike to wide receiver Derrick Mason on an out pattern for an 11-yard touchdown pass.

 

It was one play after Flacco nearly threw an interception at the goal line as the football bounced off Dolphins cornerback Will Allen’s stone hands.


 

Mason ran underneath on the score, and Flacco hit him in stride once wide receiver Demetrius Williams created a seam by running off the deeper coverage.


 

“Derrick does a great job of planting his foot,” Flacco said. “We had the right look.”


 

It’s Mason’s first touch down of the season and the first touchdown by a



Baltimore
wide receiver since a late-season game against the Seattle Seahawks last year.


 

“Joe put it on the money,” Mason said. “It was a relief. It came at the right time because we needed it.”


 

And it was Flacco’s best game in weeks as he rebounded from throwing three interceptions in a 31-3 debacle against the Indianapolis Colts a week ago.


 

“There’s a little bit of a roller-coaster ride to an NFL season with a rookie quarterback,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “There’s going to be dips, and he’s going to bounce back.”


 

Meanwhile, running back Willis McGahee gained 105 rushing yards on 19 carries and scored a five-yard insurance touchdown with
6:28 remaining in the fourth quarter.


 

McGahee redeemed himself after losing a fumble in the open field at the Dolphins’ 11-yard line after being hit from behind by safety Yeremiah Bell following a 35-yard screen play.


 

"That fumble, that was the worst highlight of my career,” McGahee said. “It was a good screen, a good run and it wasn’t a good finish, like it was all meant for nothing. I had to go out there and make up for it.”

 

It was McGahee’s first 100-yard game since losing in overtime here last year, and his top game of the season with 152 yards of total offense. A former



University
of

Miami
star, McGahee has averaged 94.4 rushing yards at Dolphin Stadium for his career.

"It’s always a good feeling when you play in your hometown," McGahee 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."

 

After the Ravens’ defense forced a punt,



Baltimore
took off on a 68-yard drive that included a key 23-yard Flacco completion to Mason.


 

“It was a team win,” Suggs said. “We bailed out the offense and they bailed us out. That’s how a team is supposed to operate.”


 

Plus, kicker Matt Stover connected on a season-high 47-yard field goal and a 28-yarder after struggling earlier this season. Stover missed a 44-yard potential game-winner in overtime during the Ravens’ loss last year at


Miami
 as



Baltimore
 became the only team to lose last year to the 1-15 Dolphins.


 

The NFL’s top-ranked defense recovered from being scorched for three touchdown passes against the Colts’ Peyton Manning last week.


 

Dolphins star running back Ronnie Brown was held to just 27 rushing yards on 13 carries as Ricky Williams was limited to 16 yards on four carries.



Miami
(2-4) remains in last place in the AFC East.


 

The Ravens surrendered just 71 rushing yards and haven’t allowed an opposing runner to gain 100 yards in 25 games, the longest streak in the NFL.


 

“It’s simple: We don’t believe in 100-yard runners,” said middle linebacker Ray Lewis, who had 10 tackles. “That’s what we’re all about."


 

The Dolphins’ trendy Wildcat offense was shut down as the Ravens solved the gadgetry that confounded the New England Patriots and the San Diego Chargers.


 

“They’re one of the top defenses in the league, and it showed,” Brown said. “They had an answer for a lot of things we were doing.”


 

The win may have finally exorcised the demons from last season’s embarrassing loss to the woeful Dolphins, a setback that likely sealed former coach Brian Billick being fired by team owner Steve Bisciotti.


 

“Definitely, but we were kind of over that,” Suggs said. “We’ve had enough drama this year leading up to this game.”


 


 
Aaron Wilson covers the
Baltimore Ravens for the
Carroll
County Times and the

Annapolis
Capital.

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Aaron Wilson

About Aaron Wilson

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post as well as the Baltimore Ravens for The Carroll County Times and Ravens24x7.com. He has previously covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans and has covered the NFL since 1997.  He has won several regional writing awards, including, most recently, Best Sports News Story for the state of Maryland in voting conducted by the Associated Press managing editors.  More from Aaron Wilson

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