By Chip Bayless
First, the game started off with 3 punts on back to back to back drives for the Ravens and Dolphins. A real testament to these two explosive offenses. Matt Moore and the entire Dolphins offense looked like shit. In fact, the only notable plays the entire first quarter were a 21 yard rush by Jay Ajayi, and a Jeremy Maclin 34 yard touchdown catch. By the way, after Ajayi’s 21 yard play he only rushed for two more yards the entire game. He totaled 23 yards on 13 carries.
One major question about 29 year-old Jeremy Maclin once the Ravens signed him was if he still had the speed and playmaking ability that once made him a star in Philadelphia. Maclin is now three years removed from his last 1,000 yard season. On Maclin’s touchdown late in the first quarter, he displayed the speed and athleticism many of his critics thought he had lost by absolutely torching Dolphins cornerback Bobby McCain on a fade route down the sideline. Flacco deserves as much if not more of the credit as Maclin however as it was a perfect throw that was lofted past McCain’s extended arm and away from safety Nate Allen who was playing the deep half of the field.
The Maclin touchdown aside, this blowout was the result of exceptional play by the Ravens defense and the Ravens running game as running back Alex Collins gradually became a major storyline in the game. Collins had 143 yards on 20 total touches, showing the downhill, hard-nosed running style that has been so distinctive of great Ravens teams of the past. Thus far into the season, Collins is averaging a whopping 5.97 yards per carry. Collins now leads all qualified running backs in that category while rookie phenom Kareem Hunt trails close behind with 5.8 YPC. Per NBC Sports, Collins is “begging for more work”, but barely out-touched fellow Ravens running back Buck Allen 20-18.
While the Ravens were busy making plays, the Dolphins offense was busy running the wrong routes, missing blocking assignments, and creating turnovers. Offensively, the Dolphins couldn’t do anything as even simple bubble screens designed to just get the ball in Jarvis Landy’s hands were stuffed for no gain or a loss of yards on various occasions. The Dolphins were held to 87 total yards, and the Ravens averaged nearly 3 more yards per play (5.6) than the Dolphins (2.7), per Bleacher Report. In fact, the only highlight worthy play the Dolphins made was the when Kiko Alonso murdered Flacco. If you haven’t seen it for yourself here it is:
(Since this is an NFL clip the embedding feature might be disabled here. In that case, all you would need to do here is click on the option that says “Watch on YouTube”)
A couple of things here. First, regardless of whether you believe the hit was dirty or not, one must reconcile with the fact that if that play happens exactly like that in full speed, then its going to be a flag and a fine for the defender every time unless the quarterback is Cam Newton. The slide was late, but defenders in the modern NFL need to be aware that hits like that on the quarterback usually don’t fly anymore. I realize that is easier said than done considering players are attempting to make split-second decisions in the heat of the moment with adrenaline pumping furiously, but defenders simply need to try and lay off making those kinds of hits because of the way the rules are set up and because of how referees call the game.
The chokeslam! pic.twitter.com/X1we2uHqrA
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) October 27, 2017
The unsportsmanlike conduct penalties didn’t stop there. Frustrations in the fourth quarter boiled over and Ndamukong Suh grabbed Ravens backup quarterback Ryan Mallett by the throat late in the game and shoved him backwards. Between the incoming fines for Suh and Alonso, Roger Goodell might be able to buy himself some more lawyers for the Zeke case.