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Ravens outclass Dolphins in pivotal AFC matchup

The Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins met Sunday in a matchup of would-be AFC contenders. Joe Philbin's squad was completely overmatched in a 28-13 Ravens victory.

  1. Elvis Dumervil was the best player on the field Sunday, and Joe Flacco was a close second. Let's start with the Ravens' defense. Despite losing two more cornerbacks to injury (Danny Gorrer and Anthony Levine), the Ravens only gave up three points in the final three quarters because of a ferocious pass rush. Dumervil dominated Dallas Thomas for 3.5 sacks, stopping multiple drives. Terrell Suggs added 1.5 sacks. Ryan Tannehill often held the ball too long, getting knocked down nine times.
  1. Flacco has played near flawless football the last few weeks. Torrey Smith was very limited because of injury (no catches) but Flacco kept converting third downs with throws on the move to Steve Smith, Marlon Brown, Kamar Aiken and a human named Phillip Supernaw. Flacco is playing like a top-10 quarterback.
  1. Ryan Tannehill's inability to throw deep is the Achilles' heel of the Miami offense. They built a 10-0 lead in the first quarter with short throws and inspired runs by Lamar Miller, but the Ravens sat on the short stuff after that. Tannehill still takes too long to process and find secondary options, too often looking like a statue. The Dolphins don't even try to throw deep.
  1. Give a big assist to Flacco's pass protection. Miami is supposed to have a great pass rush, but they had literally one QB hit all day. As bad as the Dolphins' rush defense has been of late, the lack of pressure from Miami's strong front four has been even more costly.
  1. Justin Forsett and the Ravens' running game was bottled up for much of the day but exploded down the stretch to finish with 183 yards. Baltimore scored touchdowns on four of their last five drives before running out the clock. They are keeping a weak defense off the field. Gary Kubiak has completely revamped this offense.
  1. Now 7-6, Miami will probably have to win in New England next week to keep their playoff hopes alive. Joe Philbin's team has lost some close games to good teams, but they were outclassed Sunday.
  1. The 8-5 Ravens have a favorable schedule down the stretch. With Cincinnati losing Sunday, they are very much in the mix to win the division.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps every Sunday game from Week 14 and discusses the Seahawks' return to Super Bowl form. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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