Ravens blank Dolphins in costly win
The Baltimore Ravens crushed the Miami Dolphins 40-0 in the NFL on Thursday, but they also suffered a big loss.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco suffered a concussion in the shut-out win over the Dolphins after getting hit in the head by Miami linebacker Kiko Alonso before half-time.
Flacco was 10 of 15 for 101 yards and a touchdown before exiting just prior to the interval as the Ravens held a 13-0 lead.
He was injured while scrambling on a third-and-10 from the Dolphins' 20-yard line. Flacco began his slide just shy of the 11 before getting drilled by Alonso, who was flagged for unnecessary roughness.
Ryan Mallett entered and finished the drive with a two-yard touchdown pass to Benjamin Watson.
Mallett was inconsistent, finishing three of seven for 20 yards, though he did lead a penalty-aided scoring drive in the fourth quarter. The Ravens also had a pair of interception returns in the final quarter, courtesy of linebacker C.J. Mosley and cornerback Jimmy Smith.
The Dolphins were already playing without injured starter Jay Cutler and Matt Moore had a rough night — going 25 of 44 for 176 yards and the two interceptions.
COLLINS IS A STAR IN THE MAKING
Alex Collins might have other NFL running backs taking Irish dance lessons if he continues to play like he did on Thursday. Collins, a fifth-round pick from Arkansas in the 2016 NFL Draft, recorded his first career 100-yard game with 113 yards on 18 carries against the NFL's fifth-ranked rush defence. He has an explosive burst through the hole and runs with excellent vision. He is also shifty in the open field and caught two passes for 30 yards.
With Terrance West on the shelf with a calf injury, Collins is Baltimore's top running back and might have earned the job as the full-time starter.
RETURN OF INJURED ST LOUIS PLAYERS BOOSTED RAVENS
Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and defensive tackle Brandon Williams are both St Louis natives and the two had a big impact. Maclin, who missed the last two games with a shoulder injury, caught three passes for 53 yards, including an early touchdown pass from Flacco to give the Ravens a 7-0 lead.
Williams missed four games with an injured foot. He returned last Sunday in the loss to the Minnesota Vikings, but was not at 100 per cent. He was dominant on Thursday, finishing with four tackles — including three for loss — and disrupted other plays as the Ravens (4-4) dominated the line of scrimmage with eight tackles for loss.
IT DOESN'T MATTER WHO'S AT QUARTERBACK FOR THE DOLPHINS
The Miami offence are just bad, plain and simple, and it is not the quarterback's fault. The Dolphins offensive line has not protected well and has failed to create running lanes. Miami entered the game ranked 29th in rushing with just 81.7 yards per game and only 3.3 yards per carry. They had only 45 yards on 19 carries against the Ravens.
Moore was sacked three times, but hit twice more as the Ravens used a variety of blitzes to provide constant pressure. Somehow, the Dolphins still have a winning record at 4-3 despite a minus-60 point differential and being shut out for the second time this season.
The Dolphins defence, while statistically stout, is also part of the problem as an undisciplined group. Of their seven penalties for 43 yards, three were for roughness and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh added to his reputation as a dirty player by putting his hands on Mallett's throat. The encounter set off a brief melee, in which three Dolphins were penalised, to give the game a fitting ugly end.