Ravens
Dolphins
27 - 9 Final
  for this game

Ravens' defense clamps down on Dolphins

Jan 4, 2009 - 11:52 PM MIAMI (Ticker) -- The Baltimore Ravens' ferocious defense closed the book on one of the NFL's feel-good stories of the season.

Ed Reed returned an interception for a touchdown and the Ravens harassed quarterback Chad Pennington and the Miami Dolphins into a slew of turnovers in a 27-9 victory in Sunday's AFC wild-card matchup.

Baltimore (12-5) picked off Pennington four times, more than half his regular-season total, in beating the Dolphins for the second time this season.

"We turned the ball over and we did some things that were uncharacteristic of us today," first-year Miami coach Tony Sparano said. "Give credit to the Baltimore Ravens, heck of a football team, heck of a defense."

Le'Ron McClain had an 8-yard scoring run and Matt Stover kicked a pair of field goals for the Ravens, who will visit the top-seeded Tennessee Titans next Saturday in the divisional playoffs in a rematch of a Week Five contest won by the Titans, 13-10, in Baltimore

Miami (11-6), which won the AFC East title following a disastrous 1-15 campaign in 2007, simply wilted under the Ravens' dominating defense, which has held an opponent to 13 points or fewer 11 times this season.

After committing a league-low 13 turnovers during the season, the Dolphins committed five against Baltimore, which beat Miami here, 27-13, on October 19.

"We heard all week that they don't turn the ball over," Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said. "But we force turnovers."

Reed, who led the league in interceptions with nine during the regular season, had two of the four picks, registering his 12th career touchdown and first in the postseason.

"No one is surprised by the way Ed Reed plays. Ed Reed is maybe the best player in the game," Ravens rookie coach John Harbaugh said. "You could certainly make an argument for it."

The former University of Miami standout gave the Ravens the lead for good when he took back an errant toss by Pennington 64 yards for a 10-3 lead with 2:30 left in the opening half.

"League MVP, league MVP no doubt, MVP or whatever you want to call it," Ravens wide receiver Mark Clayton said. "He deserves all of the accolades. Ed is such a good guy and he really knows the game. With the things he does, nothing really surprises us."

Jim Leonhard and Fabian Washington also intercepted Pennington, who was picked off just seven times in the regular season and had not thrown more than one in a game this year.

"It has been a special year; that's why it hurts so much," Pennington said. "You want to keep it going and see how far you can take it."

Baltimore's Joe Flacco was a pedestrian 9-of-22 for 135 yards but also rushed for a late touchdown in becoming the eighth rookie quarterback to start a postseason game since 1966.

McClain rushed for 75 yards on 19 carries and Willis McGahee added 62 for the Ravens, who snapped a three-game postseason losing streak and gave rookie coach Harbaugh the victory.

Pennington, who is in his first season with Miami after he was released by the New York Jets in August, threw for 252 yards on 25-of-38 passing with one touchdown.

"I told Chad Pennington that he's my guy and that I believe in him," Ginn said. "I can't thank him enough for what he's done for us. The guy's a real trooper."

"I can't thank him enough for what he's done for us," Sparano added.

With the Dolphins trailing, 20-3, Pennington finally got his team in the end zone, flipping a 2-yard scoring pass to Ronnie Brown. Even that ended on a sour note when Frank Walker blocked the extra point attempt.

The Dolphins' running game also was non-existent. Brown was held to 19 yards on 12 carries and Ricky Williams managed 17 yards on four rushes.

Despite forcing a fumble by Flacco at midfield on the opening possession, Miami got off to an inauspicious start, failing to score on two cracks at the 1-yard line and settling for Dan Carpenter's 19-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead.

Baltimore also had a superb chance for an early touchdown in the opening quarter, facing a 1st-and-goal at the 4-yard line.

However, the Ravens also couldn't punch the ball into the end zone and tied it at 3-3 on Stover's 23-yard field goal with 2:47 left in the quarter.

Baltimore's defense started to impose its will in the second quarter, picking off Pennington twice, including Reed's long return for a 10-3 lead with 2 1/2 minutes left in the half.

"It felt like a 200 from track, so it took a while to catch my breath," Reed said of his zig-zagging return. "I don't think I caught my breath until like the third quarter. It was fun."

Stover tacked on a 31-yard field goal with 16 seconds remaining as the Ravens carried a 13-3 lead into the locker room.

McClain's touchdown run midway through the third quarter extended the cushion to 20-3. It was set up following a fumble by Patrick Cobbs, which Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs recovered at Miami's 19-yard line.

"We kept pounding today," McClain said. "We gave up the ball early, but after the fumble everyone gathered around me and told me not to worry and keep running north and south. You have got to keep gutting it out."






  • 55
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    Ravens 27, Dolphins 9  FinalJan 19 1:35 PM
  • 50
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    Ravens 27, Dolphins 9  FinalJan 4 4:40 PM


  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    BALTIMORE 3 10 7 7 27
    MIAMI 3 0 0 6 9 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: MIA - FG, DAN CARPENTER 19 YD, 6:43. Drive: 8
    plays, 50 yards in 4:15. Key plays:
    5-yard fumble recovery by Dophins'
    Porter to Miami 49; Pennington
    11-y

    Jan 4 3:57 PM


  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    TD BAL
    JOE FLACCO 5 YD RUN
    (MATT STOVER KICK)
    BALTIMORE 27
    MIAMI 9 3:53 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Ravens 27, Dolphins 9  4th - 3:53Jan 4 3:45 PM


  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    TD MIA
    RONNIE BROWN 2 YD PASS FROM CHAD PENNINGTON
    (TWO-POINT CONVERSION FAILED)
    BALTIMORE 20
    MIAMI 9 13:09 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Ravens 20, Dolphins 9  4th - 13:09Jan 4 3:21 PM
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    Ravens 20, Dolphins 3  4th - 14:55Jan 4 3:19 PM


  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL PLAYOFFS
    BALTIMORE 20
    MIAMI 3 0:00 LEFT, 3RD QTR
    MIA BALL ON MIA 26 YD LINE
    1ST AND 10

    Jan 4 3:13 PM
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    Ravens 20, Dolphins 3  3rd - 2:09Jan 4 2:59 PM


  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    TD BAL
    LE'RON MCCLAIN 8 YD RUN
    (DAREN STONE KICK)
    BALTIMORE 20
    MIAMI 3 2:09 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Ravens 20, Dolphins 3  3rd - 2:09Jan 4 2:57 PM


  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    BALTIMORE 3 10 13
    MIAMI 3 0 3 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: MIA - FG, DAN CARPENTER 19 YD, 6:43. Drive: 8
    plays, 50 yards in 4:15. Key plays:
    5-yard fumble recovery by Dophins'
    Porter to Miami 49; Pennington
    1

    Jan 4 2:28 PM


  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    FG BAL
    MATT STOVER 31 YD
    BALTIMORE 13
    MIAMI 3 0:16 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Ravens 13, Dolphins 3  2nd - 0:16Jan 4 2:25 PM


  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    TD BAL
    ED REED 64 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN
    (MATT STOVER KICK)
    BALTIMORE 10
    MIAMI 3 2:30 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Ravens 10, Dolphins 3  2nd - 2:30Jan 4 2:10 PM


  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    BALTIMORE 3 3
    MIAMI 3 3 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: MIA - FG, DAN CARPENTER 19 YD, 6:43. Drive: 8
    plays, 50 yards in 4:15. Key plays:
    5-yard fumble recovery by Dophins'
    Porter to Miami 49; Penningto

    Jan 4 1:36 PM


  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL PLAYOFFS
    BALTIMORE 3
    MIAMI 3 2:40 LEFT, 1ST QTR
    MIA BALL ON MIA 32 YD LINE
    1ST AND 10

    Ravens 3, Dolphins 3  1st - 2:40Jan 4 1:29 PM
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    Ravens 0, Dolphins 3  1st - 7:27Jan 4 1:20 PM


  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    FG MIA
    DAN CARPENTER 19 YD
    BALTIMORE 0
    MIAMI 3 8:17 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Ravens 0, Dolphins 3  1st - 8:17Jan 4 1:13 PM
  • Cashton10 Fumble!!! Miami Recovers. Go Dolphins

    Ravens 0, Dolphins 0  1st - 10:39Jan 4 1:12 PM
  • Cashton10 Fumble!!! Miami Recovers. Go Dolphins

    Ravens 0, Dolphins 0  1st - 12:32Jan 4 1:07 PM
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