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- Ravens QB Lamar Jackson never found a rhythm. Baltimore’s signal-caller struggled with timing and accuracy, leaving the upset door open all night long for a Dolphins team ready to step through. Early in the game, Jackson had an open Sammy Watkins deep down the middle of the field, but was a beat late on a throw that Watkins appeared to peel off on as he was running into the path of the goalpost. It was emblematic of Jackson’s night. He took four sacks, threw too many passes off balance, and never looked comfortable in completing just three of 12 passes of 10-plus air yards. The Ravens can overcome that at times when the tracks are greased for their rushing attack, but on this night, that wasn’t going to carry the day, either.
- Quarterback change was the right button to push. Dolphins coach Brian Flores had seen enough of Jacoby Brissett when the quarterback came out of the game with knee pain following a third-quarter sack, and switching to Tua Tagovailoa ultimately paid off. Brissett got the start due to a finger injury on Tagovailoa’s throwing hand, but with the Miami offense stagnant, Flores figured nine good fingers were enough to make the move. Tagovailoa didn’t look sharp initially, and it surely didn’t help that his already-injured throwing hand collided with Ravens LB Patrick Queen’s hand on a third-quarter follow-through. But he found enough of a groove to get Miami’s offense into a higher gear on a night when Brissett never looked settled or confident.
- I’ve got him … you take him. Two inexplicable busts in the Ravens secondary accounted for a massive chunk of the Dolphins’ offense, and were as big a factor in the outcome as anything. On the first, Dolphins WR Isaiah Ford got loose deep down the right sideline for a 52-yard catch that set up a field goal before halftime. On the second, Tagovailoa found Albert Wilson down the left sideline -- even more wide open than Ford was -- for a 64-yard gain late in the fourth quarter. The Ravens had just cut the lead to 15-10 and were poised to potentially steal the game with a defensive stop, but Wilson’s play set up a short touchdown to put the game out of reach. Those two plays accounted for nearly a third of Miami’s offense (116 of 374 yards).
- Rookies shine at home for Miami. Two members of the Dolphins’ 2021 draft class, Jaelan Phillips and Jevon Holland, looked outstanding Thursday night and were integral in shutting down the Ravens. Phillips helped to contain Jackson with an assisted sack and a QB hurry, showing not only pass-rush ability, but a knack for quickly disengaging to chase the ball to the sideline. Holland broke up two passes and came up with a second-half sack on a blitz off the edge to force a punt. He’s an instinctive and speedy roamer in the secondary who can eat up a ton of turf with the ball in the air. On this night, they played like two of the club’s first three draft picks should have.
- Offenses downright offensive. Those who enjoy great defensive football and don’t need back-and-forth scoring to hold their attention can appreciate a low-scoring game. This wasn’t that. Scoring was certainly suppressed, but it was offensive ineptitude that reigned for most of the game, not so much defensive prowess. Punts soared back and forth, passes were dropped, and scoring chances were missed. Even on the Ravens’ lone touchdown drive, they had to be nudged along by three Dolphins penalties, including two roughing the passer calls. The late offensive awakening aside, the two offenses floundered for three quarters combined for a brutal 5 of 27 on third-down conversions. In a word, it was ugly.
Next Gen stat of the night: Holland blitzed on 21 snaps, the highest total for a defensive back in the Next Gen Stats era (since 2016).
NFL Research: Jacoby Brissett’s 52-yard completion to Isaiah Ford near the end of the first half was the Dolphins’ longest offensive play of the season. It then became the second-longest, when Tua Tagovailoa found Albert Wilson for 64 yards.