Various thoughts on various things, all in 50 words or less:
It's tempting to pass off the debacle in Miami as a classic misadventure of the road. But road teams have a 70-67 record in the NFL this season, and the trend has been going in that direction for several years. As the home-field advantage disappears, location can't be an excuse.
Having said that, the cover-your-eyes defeat reminded me of a 2011 prime-time road loss in which the Ravens didn't register a first down in Jacksonville until late in the third quarter. Then they scored 30 points and won the next week. In other words, don't think you know what's next.
The Ravens have five fewer turnovers caused (12-7) and nine fewer sacks (28-19) than their opponents through nine games. They've converted 34 percent of their third downs, down 15 percent from a year ago. It all serves to make their 6-3 record that much more surprising.
Baltimore's defense has been heavily scrutinized throughout the 2021 season for not tackling well at times and giving up too many big plays. The absence of turnovers, noted above, has flown somewhat under the radar. But Thursday night's loss cried out for an Ed Reed-style game-changer that never came.
To be clear, it wasn't surprising that the Dolphins' defense brought a lot of heat Thursday night. Their blitz rate is among the league's highest. What was surprising was the Ravens seemed, well, surprised by the steady pressure, even though they weren't. And then they couldn't do anything about it.
I found the fuss annoying at the time, but I get why everyone got a kick out of Dolphins guard Robert Hunt grabbing a pass and rumbling for the end zone even though he was an ineligible receiver. The moment perfectly captured the eternal yearning for glory of O-linemen everywhere.
Even though Lamar Jackson was relentlessly harried Thursday night, four of the Ravens' five O-linemen (Type Phillips being the exception) received strong pass-blocking grades from Pro Football Focus. The implication is that other factors had more to do with the Ravens' inability to consistently generate gains in the air.
In Miami, Rashod Bateman was targeted once in the first quarter, zero times in the second quarter and once in the third quarter. Then, in the fourth quarter, he caught four passes for 64 yards. I'd say the offense would benefit from Bateman receiving a steadier diet of attention.
Only three of Justin Houston's 100.5 career sacks have come with the Ravens, as opposed to 78.5 with the Chiefs and 19 with the Colts. But the Ravens are still getting a glimpse of what his excellent career was/is all about, courtesy of the quarterback pressures he is steadily producing.
When the Ravens drafted Brandon Stephens, they envisioned him initially providing depth, not playing every snap, as he develops early in his career. But after injuries to others, it appears he'll be playing all the time going forward. The hope is he'll benefit from having to learn on the job.