Baltimore 'Gets Back to Raven Football' With Shutout in Must-Win Game


When a somber Terrell Suggs talked with the media Sunday afternoon following a loss to the Minnesota Vikings, he said the Ravens stunk, and that he didn't really have the answers as to why.

But he also stressed that the Ravens had the talent to make corrections and could "still do something magical."

They found that magic Thursday night.

Baltimore took down the Miami Dolphins 40-0 at M&T Bank Stadium, controlling both sides of the ball for the team's most commanding victory of the season.

"We got back to playing Raven football tonight," Suggs said after Thursday's victory.

The win moves the Ravens to 4-4 on the season and keeps them in the thick of the AFC playoff picture.

"We definitely needed this performance," defensive tackle Brandon Williams said. "We definitely needed to show the doubters that we ain't going nowhere. We're still here. We had a little slump. Things happen. But the Baltimore Ravens defense and the Baltimore Ravens, period, are still fighting. We're still standing."

Coming into Sunday's matchup, the Ravens had lost four of their last five games. The offense had struggled to find any sort of a rhythm and the defense had given up 400 rushing yards over the previous two weeks.

The Ravens risked falling out of the playoff race if they lost to the Dolphins, and the significance of the game was not lost on the locker room. The results of the last two weeks had Williams' thoughts stirring in the middle of the night before the game, and he tweeted just after midnight that, "A storm is coming."

"I just knew," Williams said. "I just knew what the Baltimore Ravens have, who we are. What you guys saw is exactly what we are – a hard-nosed team, that runs to the ball, stops the run, gets a bunch of tackles in the backfield. That's who we are. And that's what we displayed tonight."

The victory was Baltimore's best all-around performance of the season. The offense started early with a 34-yard strike from quarterback Joe Flacco to wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, and kicker Justin Tucker added a pair of long field goals to make it 13-0. 

Perhaps the game's most decisive moment came late in the second quarter when Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso delivered an illegal hit on Flacco that knocked him out of the game with a concussion. The play fired up Baltimore's bench and elevated the team's emotion.

"That really set the tone for the rest of the game," linebacker C.J. Mosley said. "It was a little chippy, but that's our type of football. That's what we do for four quarters."

Even after Flacco left the game, the Ravens were still able to move the football. They leaned heavily on Alex Collins and Javorius Allen in the running game, and the Ravens racked up 174 rushing yards. Collins finished with a game-high 113 yards, crossing the century mark for the first time in his NFL career.

"He got the game ball tonight," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "It was just a physical effort for the whole offense."

 As the Ravens pounded the ball on the ground to eat away the clock in the second half, the defense completely shut down Miami's rushing attack. The Ravens held Miami to 45 yards on the ground, and 21 of those yards came on the first carry for running back Jay Ajayi.

Miami couldn't muster much of anything against a swarming Ravens defense, which notched pick-sixes by Mosley and cornerback Jimmy Smith.

"We locked it up tonight," Smith said.

The Ravens now head into a mini bye weekend on a high note, and they get to play cheerleader while watching the games on Sunday. Baltimore's up-and-down season mirrors what is happening around the rest of the NFL, and the league seems to produce surprising results every single week.

"To me, it's what makes this league crazy and interesting, and fun to watch," Harbaugh said.

The Ravens are .500 at the midway point of the season. Their four wins have come by a combined score of 114-27. Their four losses are a combined 88-56.

Their goal of returning to the playoffs is still very much in sight, and their focus is to find consistency in the second half of the season.

"The challenge going ahead is that you have eight left. You can't go .500 out of those eight," Suggs said. "We got one in the win column tonight and we are going back to work."

Check out the best photos from M&T Bank Stadium as the Ravens host the Dolphins on Thursday Night Football.

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