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Could Win Over Dolphins Propel Ravens Like 2012 Win Over Giants?


The lopsided victory over the Miami Dolphins Sunday was the best the Ravens have looked all season. 

Quarterback Joe Flacco was in the zone and spread the ball around to all of his targets. The offensive line gave him time to throw. The Ravens found the end zone rather than settling for field goals. The defense stuffed Miami's running game and forced three turnovers.

"It was complete team victory," safety Lardarius Webb said.

The game had a vaguely similar feeling to a late-season victory from a few years ago, when the Ravens beat the New York Giants 33-14 at M&T Bank Stadium. That Week 16 victory snapped a three-game losing streak and helped propel the Ravens on a run to the playoffs that ended in a Super Bowl XLVII victory.

"I remember that game well," tight end Dennis Pitta said after the 38-6 win over Miami. "We rode that momentum throughout the playoffs. Hopefully this will have a similar effect, and hopefully offensively, we can continue to put it together like we did today and come out with wins."

In both games, the Ravens offense put up big numbers after struggling in previous weeks. Both of the offensive breakouts also came after the Ravens had changed coordinators in the middle of the season. However, this year's coordinator change happened in Week 6, and in 2012 it didn't occur until Week 15. 

The turnaround in 2012 also coincided with the Ravens getting healthy late in the season, which is similar to this year. Baltimore's offensive line is now finally at full strength and playing well after a going through a carousel of options earlier in the year.

The defense is also performing at a very high level despite outside linebacker Terrell Suggs playing through a torn biceps muscle, the same injury he played through in 2012. 

"We are getting healthy at the right time, and we feel good, and we feel like we have the momentum going at the right time," Pitta said.

The Ravens were clearly fired up after the win, but are also cautious about making too big of a connection to a game from four seasons ago when the team was so much different. Veteran offensive lineman Marshal Yanda stressed that "we really haven't done anything yet," and that the Ravens still have plenty of work ahead of them.

"It's only one game, so obviously we're excited about our performance, but everybody understands that it's one game and we got to prove it again week-in and week-out," Yanda said.

To Yanda's point, a major difference is that the win over the Giants clinched the AFC North title for Baltimore. The Ravens had built up such a big lead in the division earlier in the season that they could afford to lose some games in the finals weeks and still capture the division. This year's team doesn't have that same luxury.

The Giants were also the defending Super Bowl champions, so beating them seemed to carry a little more weight.

The Ravens will have a big opportunity next week to show whether they can carry over the momentum from the win over Miami. Baltimore travels to New England next Monday for a meeting with the Patriots (10-2), and that game will be a huge test to see whether the Ravens are getting hot at the perfect time again.

"It was a hell of a game, but we all understand that we got to go back to work and get back to trying to build off it, trying to go out there and put in another good performance next week," Yanda said.

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