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Ravens beat the Dolphins then improved

In the week leading up to the Jets victory, I made the point that the boys from Gotham would be surprised if they expected to see the same Dolphins they defeated in the regular-season opener. The December Dolphins, I argued, had become a far superior team.

Well, this week the Dolphins face the Baltimore Ravens, a team they lost to 27-13 on October 19. And unfortunately for Miami, the Ravens they play in the wild card round of the playoffs Sunday are a far superior team than they were two months ago.

The Ravens came to that first game on a three-game losing skid and searching for an identity and a direction. They come to Sunday's game as winners of five of their last six games and nine of 11 overall. They've gotten better, folks.

When the teams first met, Baltimore rookie quarterback Joe Flacco entered the game with only five games of NFL experience. He had one touchdown and seven interceptions to show for those five outings. But Flacco played well against the Dolphins despite his Big Bird looks.

And he's gotten better ever since. He's thrown six touchdowns and three interceptions in his last six games and that includes a meltdown game against Pittsburgh (Pitt has a good defense) in which he threw two interceptions without a touchdown.

So that's not great news for Miami.

The Ravens have found a solid running combination in Le'Ron McClain and Willis McGahee since that October game. Ray Rice is there also and contributes.

And on that defense that is the lifeblood of Baltimore's playoff life, there has been a drastic tightening against the pass. When the Ravens last came to South Florida, their cornerbacks were troubled. Chris McAlister did not play and the Dolphins exploited the void.

But in Week 7, the Ravens inserted Fabian Washington, a former first-round pick in Oakland, and he has solidified the left cornerback spot. Suddenly that gaping hole in the Baltimore secondary is not there anymore.

So the Ravens are better than they were that indian summer Sunday in October.

Sure, the Dolphins also are better than they were then. But I would tell you Baltimore's leap has been just as significant. If not more.

Oh, about that game that was played in October ... Here are some factoids from the Miami loss that may interest only me: 

The Dolphins used the wildcat formation 5 times, all of them rushes. They gained four yards, which delivered a depressing .8 yards per rush.

The tale of the third down play was an interesting one: The Dolphins converted 5 of 13 attempts against the Ravens vaunted defense for a 38.5 percent success rate. That was, believe it or not, higher than the 37 percent success rate Miami averaged the entire season.

The Ravens offense, meanwhile, converted 6 of 13 third down plays against Miami's defense for a 46.2 percent success rate. That was well higher than the 37.8 percent success the Dolphins allowed throughout the season.

The Dolphins forced and recovered one fumble, that by McGahee. The Ravens had one interception by Terrell Suggs which he returned for a touchdown.

The Dolphins have outscored their opponents 82-62 in the fourth quarter this season. The Ravens outscored the Dolphins 7-0 in the fourth quarter in October.

One major difference for the Dolphins this week should be found right in the middle of the defensive line. Jason Ferguson missed that first game with an injury. Then Paul Soliai was suspended for breaking unspecified team rules. So it was Randy Starks at nose tackle most of that day -- a position he played without working there during the week.

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We will surpass their intensity play sound football Bot teams are playing better but I feel very very good about this Dolphins team. We will do our thing and win on Sunday!! GO PHINS!!!!!

tim is this the same great baltimore that had its nfl team leave for indy you got to be kidding me

i still see those trackter-trailors leaving that great city of baltimore in the middle of the night do you timmy

timmy o timmy i thought so

good luck Miami your going to need it...

Mando,

You really underestimate the Fins, don't you? I agree with you the key is going to be at NT pos on defense, but if you look at the last two weeks of offensive play, there is no doubt Miami can put the wood to Baltimore's defense.

The same Baltimore that lost the Colts ... just like the other unfortunate cities with bad ownership like the Los Angeles Rams, St Louis Cardinals and the Oakland Raiders Pt 1 - etc.

The same Baltimore where Miami found the Coach that put them on the NFL map and made you hanky waving giddy.

and for those of you who use English as a second language, we do not spell tractor trailers (trackter-trailors), because in reality they were moving vans.

Now how about that weakling schedule you played this year ??

ALL I WANT TO SAY IS JOE FLACCO!!!!

I said before the draft that we should draft Flacco and all you so call Dolphin Professionals said that I was out of my mind and that Flacco is miserable bla, bla, bla.

I watched this kid in collage and by far.. he has a gun, no a bazookia, no a cannon, no an ICBM for an arm which I haven't seen the likes of since Dan...

I have been a Fin fan since 1970 and I will die a fin fan... BUT.... I am very and I mean VERY afraid that our secondary is going to loose this game and if we took Flacco and were in the same spot, I would feel much better at ease.

My predictions is BLT 38 Miami 17 FINAL

Tim, the game for this Sunday sold out in less than 12 hours so I have no idea why you're making up the 25,000 tickets available thing other than the fact that you root for the Ravens and probably can't read, write ,or add. Good try though. ARMANDO, I know you guys want as many hits as possible on your site but there has to be some rules right? You have a guy on here talking about children being raped and that is okay with you guys? It's not okay with me and I don't know about anyone else but if I see any more of that crap I will not be returning. Please ban the garbage Mando because I love your blogs but can not and will not support that kind of ignorant behavior.

Offense (total points)
Miami - #21 in the league

Defense (points scored against)
Baltimore - #3 in the league

Could be a long afternoon.


Joe if you drafted Flacco Carey would be protecting him on his back side at left tackle. How did that work out for Trent Green? The only reason he is playing is because the Ravens didn't have a choice as they had no other decent QBs. Yes he's good but had they had a veteran QB he would not be starting this year. Henne will sit and learn from a great leader in Pennington. Flacco is learning to lead from the likes of Cam Cameron and Ray "I lied to the police about a murder" Lewis. I like Hennes chances at being a better general and team leader in the future. It's about the big picture, we needed to draft linemen on both sides of the ball and the Ravens already had that.

My source might not be very good. It was the Miami Herald online. You might have sold out your game in short order but there were according to the Herald 25,000 available tickets that went on sale.

The first time the Ravens played the Dolphins there were alot of Dolphins fans disguised as empty seats. I saw it in High Def.

We definately need to put pressure on Flacco. And with our NT available for this game, the run D will be back on.

I see the Dolphins putting a beat-down on the Ravens. Maybe then people will start looking at us as more than a cute story.

Lets go Ricky, its time for you to break out!!!!!!

You can throw out all of the stats you want but the game isn't played on paper, it's played on the field. Whomever wins on Sunday will be the better team that day. Also whichever team scores more points will win the game. Both teams are on a roll right now so it will be a great game, there will be no blowout.

Tim, your source sucks. Just kidding Herald.

Tim, I don't know what you're trying to say. Are you saying that there aren't as many Dolphin fans as there are Ravens fans? You do realize the Dolphins are the second most popular NFL team in the world right behind the Cowboys right? Did you wonder why the Dolphins were asked to play in England and Canada for two consecutive years? Did you wonder why the Dolphins will be hosting the 2010 superbowl and the pro bowl which will be played the week before in Dolphin stadium? Say what you will about the team but you can't ever say we don't have fans. There are always empty seats in Sept. October and the first part of November. People head for cover to escape the sun, humidity and 95 degree heat. If you can sit still for 3 hours straight in those conditions my hats off to ya.

Speed and more speed,that's what's going to happen to tha ravens, Go Dolphins

WHERE IS MY MEAT BALL RECIPE EVERY ONE.I STILL THINK DOLPHIN WILL BE HIT WITH THE REALITY THAT THEYADVANCED BY LUCK AND GRACE OF GOD,SO GET READY TO HANDLE THE TRUTH FINS FANS.THE RAVENS ARE COMING TO WAKE YOU UP TO VERY SAD REALITY.YOU DON;T BELONG TO THE TOP TEAMS.POSTED BY MIKO========================

Dolphins playoff game sells out in one day

Palm Beach Post Staff Report

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Dolphins locked up a playoff berth Sunday evening, and by late Monday afternoon the game was declared a sellout.

Some 25,000 tickets were sold for the Baltimore-Miami wild-card game at 1 p.m. Sunday at Dolphin Stadium.
See Tim, that's what I was talking about regarding your reading comprehension. 25,000 tickets were sold and THAT sold the game out because the other tickets weren't available due to the large number of pre-orders and season ticket holders. Sorry to be so harsh but when you come into an opponents site to talk trash what do you really expect? At least do a little homework before you put your foot in your mouth. Sound farmiliar?

bob not bobby,steve not steven that was not the point it was your team leaving that great city of baltimore

YOU CAN SELL 100.000 IN FIVE HOURS AND STILL LOSE THE GAME LIKE YOU DID EARLY IN THE YEAR. BALTIMORE:57 DOLPHINS :13 MIKO

i love how the media is turning joe flacco into superman, please, he will make mistakes sunday.
chad needs to get rid of the ball, ray lewis (my fav. player) struggles staying with te's so they will blitz him straight up the middle right into chad's face.

Why not us! go dolphins!

Sheez, and I thought the NY fans were bad. At least when they spewed their venom they had two brain cells to rub together. What the hell is in the water in MD??

I second NYScott's request to ban and remove the posts with "rape" comments or other extreme vulgarities. Censorship? You betcha. It's your blog, Mando, and it's yours to reflect your image.

Dolphins 27
Ravens 17 F

BALTIMORE:98 DOLPHINS:9 3 LOUSY FIELD GOAL POSTED BY MIKO

channing crowder looked rusty, had some mental errors too, he should play better

ferguson will be back in the middle too

sparano will add 2 or 3 new wrinkles out of the wildcat, if we hit on at least 2 of them we will win.

its so obvious that all these ravens posters on here are the same jets fans that have been on here all year they're just too embarrasssed to post as jets fans anymore, next week they will be steelers fans watch...its comical

I AM NOT JET FAN.I AM RAVENS FUTURE SUPER BOWL CHAMP.YOU JUST GOT LUCKY TO BE IN THE PLAYOFF DOLPHIN FANS.NEVER FORGET YOU HAVE THE RECORD FOR WORST SECOND RECORD IN R.SEASON EVER AND EVER AND EVER AND EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVER POSTED BY MIKO

Uh, Miko, no, that would be the newly minted 2008 Lions at 0-16. And before them, the '76 Bucs were 0-14

Don't you watch Sportscenter, you drip?

OK first of all the 1st game against the Ravens was a flukeee,,, I think we can go over 450 yards of offense on them and shut them out like the eagles did to the cowboys

OH YOU GUYS KEEP DREAMING NO ONE CAN SHUT THE RAVENS OFFENSE.REMMBER LIONS AND 76 BUCS ARE BOTH TIED FOR FIRST PLACE RECORD BUT YOU ONLY YOU HAVE THE SECOND WORST ALL BY THE FINS,LLLLLLLLLLLLLLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM POSTED BY MIKO

Some 25,000 tickets were sold for the Baltimore-Miami wild-card game at 1 p.m. Sunday at Dolphin Stadium.
See Tim, that's what I was talking about regarding your reading comprehension. 25,000 tickets were sold and THAT sold the game out
**************************************
To NY Scott
I understand and comprehend EXACTLY what I read and what was implied. The NY part of your name might imply you are from NY. If that is the case you certainly must know the JETS and GIANTS are sold out of season tickets as are many other NFL venues DC, Green Bay and yes Baltimore amongst others and that directly correlates into minimal if any playoff tickets available FOR PUBLIC SALE at any point after qualifying for the playoffs. So my comprehension in reading is fine ... your comprehension in understanding what I implied might be a little skewed.

So the Dolphins are the second most popular team behind Dallas and you have tens of thousands of empty seats for 3 out of the four months of the season ?? Doesn't sound like such a legendary following to me.

Why are you getting the Pro Bowl and Superbowl?
Because of your temperate climate in the winter and from what you tell me football fans do not want to face the heat and humidity in Sept Oct and November.

Sounds like you folks are a legend in your own mind.

450 yards against the Ravens ?? OMG

Balto vs the Eagles - McNabb gets benched.
Balto vs the Redskins - Clinton Portis gets benched.

Pennington and his gang are going to light up the Ravens ??

You sound like a gambling man under the influence to me.

Forget the game and head to Vegas, at least there you will get free drinks while you gamble and use up that weed that Ricky Williams gave you.

Tim,

Talk all you want as far as franchises go the ravens cant compare with the dolphins.

Your Qb is a rookie thats gonna get exposed and owned up. Once we stop your running game with ferguson back in the middle, big birds cousin Mr. Flacco is going to play like what he is a rookie.

The ravens live off turn overs..Guess what we do.. We hold on to the ball.

Its gonna come down to QB play and ours is better, smarter, and more experienced.


LETS GO DOLPHINS.

AND tim i understand why you would be bitter, because while your watching from home , i will be at the stadium with 72,000 other Dolphin Fans. Because our team won their division.

go dolphins go sweet polly!

All of you Phin fans are very preoccupied with Joe Flacco. He is smooth and very good for a rookie QB but I hardly think that is what you should be so preoccupied with. It should be that Defensive Unit.

Seems to me someone down there is jamming Flacco down your throat. The Dolphin coaching staff better be planning on better ways to stop the Ravens than just worrying about Joe Flacco.

and you're right JC ... we didn't win our division and get a game at home. That would've been cool but we couldn't win our division with an 11-5 record.

tim ,go all over the country and you will see dolphin fans everywhere .the only place you will see baltimore fans are in indy ,where your great city and fans let your team leave for in the first time. talk about legends in your own mind

i meant in the first place.

that division sure had those powerhouses browns and bungles

Ricky and Ronnie will run straight up their butts and nobody is gonna stop them. It's time for Ricky to show us what he is made of......And as for you Mondo......get on board or get off the bus.....

Ricky and Ronnie will run straight up their butts and nobody is gonna stop them. It's time for Ricky to show us what he is made of......And as for you Mondo......get on board or get off the bus.....

Mike, you've been on this blog an entire three minutes during your life. You don't know where I stand and you don't know what you're talking about.

I agree with my other Fins fans that this Sunday we will show the "real" Joe Flacco to the rest of the NFL. We will pressure him to make mistakes and Fins will win 20-17.

Now as for the Jets fans, I can't sign off without saying: J-E-T-S Suck Suck Suck!

ENJOY THE DREAMING.VERY SOON YOU WILL BE SHOCKED BY THE REAL RAVENS DEFENSE .................POSTED BY MIKO

You funny people saying Flacco will fold.

The Dolphins got to him three times in the first game and he did just fine. He was almost killed by the Cowboys in the first half and came out and put them away in the second half (in combination with the running backs).

The Steelers, are well the Steelers, and I think that was more of an awesome defense than Flacco being intimidated.

The Ravens can lose this game, but I think those of you who think Flacco will lose it are sorely mistaken.

Oh Randy?, the Cowboys are not in the playoffs. And the Steelers? Well, you lost. Regardless of how many points, or what happened during the game. You lost it.

Just a comment for the Man with the numbers trash talkin mo fo. As a correction the Ravens lost 5 games to teams who are a collective 61-19, the Dolphins lost 5 games to teams a collective 48-32. The Ravens won 11 to teams 71-102-3, the Dolphins won 11 to teams 70-106. Interesting point though. The Ravens lost no games to teams who finished with a worse record than 12-4. The Dolphins lost all five to teams with equal or worse records. The Dolphins didn't even play a team that ended up with a better record, so I'd say strength of schedule goes to the Ravens.

All that being said I think it's going to be a tight game. Kudos to both the Dolhpins and the Ravens for having terrific turn arounds this year. And may the team that plays better win. I'll be rooting for the Ravens, you guys will be rooting for the Dolhpins and that's the way it should be.

I think our running backs suck against the Ravens D. There is no way we win. We won't run and won't be able to stop the 3 headed monster's at running back. I never realized just how uneducated our Dolphin fans really were. You guys are embarrasing us. Please stop.

Ravens: 23 Dolphins:6

Hey Bernie, We are smart enough to recognize a Ravens fan pretending to be a Dolphins fan. Nice try.

The bottom line is that Baltimore will Beat Mimi Dogfins and Move on to shidsburg steelers

Having lived in Baltimore 10 years I know the "rat birds" are the greatest thing since sliced crab cakes. I also know they can be beaten. Mistake-free football (no turnovers, etc. or more than one false start) is a given. Then, turn everyone loose on Flacko. Let them hit him every down, and encourage Vonnie to belly flop on him like the big fat Raven Center Siragusa did to the Raiders' QB Rich Gannon back in the AFC Championship in 2000. Knocked his game off totally! Knocking the little unibrowed Sleezik out is even better.

Guess what, the rat birds have NO other quality QBs! As for the Ravens' D, they can be had but you need lots of misdirection plays. Also, give up on the wildcat unless you want to use pass options. Run options are a waste of time, and you only lose down and distance.

I predict, especially if Flacco is knocked out by the end of the first half, a BIG Dolphin win, like 24- 3.

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