'Unreal' Ravens Fans Take Over In Miami**
Just prior to kickoff, I heard the Ravens' "Seven-Nation Army" chant on the TV broadcast. I turned to my husband and said, "That's lame. The Dolphins are doing the same chant too?"
Nope, that was Ravens fans that traveled down to Miami for the game. They took over the stadium.
If you go to the Florida Sun Sentinel, you will see an article with the following headline in large font:
"Ravens claim home-field advantage at Sun-Life Stadium."
The paper reported that a "conservative estimate" was at least half of those attending the game were Ravens fans.
"Being the reigning Super Bowl champion has its perks, but nobody ever said it came with home-field advantage on the road," wrote Sun Sentinel's Omar Kelly. "Ravens jerseys were all over the stadium, from the upper deck to the lower bowl. And many in the Sun-Life Stadium crowd of 68,342 yelled the Orioles' infamous "O" during the [National Anthem].
"Sunday's game was BY FAR the best Sun-Life Stadium takeover I've personally witnessed in my seven seasons covering the Dolphins."
It didn't go unnoticed by the Ravens.
Head Coach John Harbaugh gave a huge shout out to fans in his press conference after the game, and the players greeted fans in purple and black before exiting the field.
"It was unreal! We have the best fans," said receiver Torrey Smith. "I always listen for the O during the national anthem, and it was really loud today. Felt like a [home] game. They made as much crowd noise on offense as we got."
Mascot Sadly Celebrates Dolphins Missed Field Goal (GIF)
Miami kicker Caleb Sturgis' would be game-tying 57-yard field goal with 38 seconds remaining wasn't even close.
So who knows what Dolphins mascot T.D. saw inside that costume?
The ball hooked wide left, but T.D. signaled for a field goal and began to celebrate only to be disappointed when he looked over at the ref signaling a miss.
"Aw, nuts!" was the reaction he seemed to gesture.
It was 90 degrees on the field, so it must have been a blazing furnace inside that suit by the end of the three-hour game. According to my unsound medical Google search, heat stroke can cause hallucinations, a.k.a. seeing or hearing things that aren't real.
I'm just sayin'.
Thanks to S.B. Nation for providing the GIF below (mobile users tap "View in Browser" at the top of the page).
Fearing For Flacco's Health, Hoping For McKinnie's Last Start
The official half-dozen hits and two sacks hardly told the story of the beating quarterback Joe Flacco Sunday in Miami.
He sustained so many cringe-worthy hits that his health seemed to become more important than the win. It wasn't a question of if the offensive line would allow pressure, but how quickly it would allow it to get to the quarterback.
"This Ravens offensive line is so awful right now that you fear for the health of Joe Flacco," WSNT's Luke Jones tweeted during the game. "He's as durable as they come, but man..."
"He's getting hit so many times he should invest some of that $120.6 million contract into life insurance," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley.
The reigning Super Bowl MVP was forced to throw before he wanted and couldn't follow through on his passes. After the crushing hits he took, you have to wonder how he feels as he gets out of bed this morning.
While the entire offensive line had its issues – especially with Kelechi Osemele leaving after the first series with back spasms – left tackle Bryant McKinnie was the man at whom most were pointing fingers.
"A statuesque Bryant McKinnie watches that Dolphins pass rusher spin around him into Joe Flacco's lap," tweeted The Baltimore Sun's Matt Vensel. "Thanks for coming."
It was McKinnie who was "so slow" that Dolphins linebacker Koa Misi came untouched to sack Flacco off the edge just prior to half time. And of course, it was clear in this GIF that McKinnie was to responsible for the pick-six that allowed the Dolphins back in the game. (Although Harbaugh said he wished they never threw the ball in the first place in that situation.)
At that point, Eugene Monroe, who only had two days of practice to learn the offense, seemed like a better option than the 34-year-old veteran.
"Ravens have to be second-guessing not making Eugene Monroe active now. McKinnie is too much of a liability," tweeted Hensley.
McKinnie's performance was somewhat surprising, considering he believed he still had a chance to keep the starting left tackle post even after the Ravens traded for Monroe.
"McKinnie clearly hasn't responded to Monroe trade," tweeted The Sun's Jeff Zrebiec.
Traded For Monroe JUST In Time
If Ozzie Newsome had waited just one more week to try to trade for Monroe, it likely wouldn't have happened.
That's because Jaguars first-round rookie tackle Luke Joeckel sustained a high ankle fracture yesterday, and is done for the season. He was the reason Jacksonville felt comfortable shipping Monroe to Baltimore in the first place.
Now, the question of the week will be whether Monroe starts Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. Harbaugh left it up to Monroe to play in Miami, depending on his comfort with the offense. He apparently didn't feel prepared.
Will he this week?
"I'm getting it as fast as I can, and it's coming along," Monroe told The Sun's Aaron Wilson. "It [stinks] not playing. You always want to be on the field and experience a win and play a part in it. I'm going to keep working and have my opportunity come sooner than later."
Lights Go Out On Presser, Harbs Delivers Clever Line
A funny moment in yesterday's press conference with Harbaugh sparked memories of the power outage in Super Bowl XLVII.
As the head coach was addressing the media, quarterback Joe Flacco was waiting for his turn at the podium against the wall and accidentally turned out the lights. A reporter yelled out, "Super Bowl!"
"Like they say, 'Deja vu," Harbaugh said, adding that Flacco could get another McDonald's commercial out of it.
Just moments later, Suggs walked into the room and got in line for his turn at the podium. Suggs, who recently claimed that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had a hand in the power outage in New Orleans, also inadvertently turned off the lights.
"Suggs got us now!" Harbaugh said.
"It wasn't the commissioner!" he exclaimed to Suggs, sending the room into laughter. Suggs had a wide grin.
Suggs Playing Better Than 2011 DPOY?
After his second of three sacks, some began talking about whether Suggs is playing as well as he did in 2011 when he won Defensive Player of the Year* *and prior to tearing his Achilles tendon.
Suggs then went on to record a third sack – all in the fourth quarter – at a time when players were withering in the 90-degree Miami sun. Suggs took over with the score tied at 23-23 and the Dolphins with momentum and possession.
With that, the chatter reached an even higher level after the game.
"There were questions whether Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs would be the same defensive player after tearing his Achilles last year," Hensley wrote. "No one ever thought Suggs would be better."
Wilson added that Suggs is "rivaling" his 2011 form.
- @mzenitz: Cannot overstate how big Torrey Smith has been for a passing game and an offense that has so many deficiencies [Twitter]
- @jeffzrebiecsun: Huge challenge by John Harbaugh despite fact that Miami lined up quickly to run play. Ravens force Dolphins punt. [Twitter]
- On pick-six … @jeffzrebiecsun: No idea why #Ravens were throwing the ball there on 3rd-and-22 from own 11. Run ball and punt and put the game in defense's hands. [Twitter]
- Harbaugh on play call that led to pick-six: "We want that one back. We should have run the ball there. I think we'll all agree there. We should have punted it out of there the way our defense was playing. We put Joe in a tough spot. That was a mistake." [The Baltimore Sun]
- On Deonte Thompson's penalty on a kickoff return … @jamisonhensley: You don't ever have to grab the facemask of a kicker. Ever [Twitter]
- [The Ravens] won Sunday because they recommitted to the running game and were reminded that Ray Rice still is their best offensive player," wrote Zrebiec. "They also won because Terrell Suggs decided that it was time to take over the game." [The Baltimore Sun]
- How did the Ravens shut down Dolphins receiver Mike Wallace in the second half after allowing seven catches for 105 yards? ''They came out in the second half and did a good job of adjusting,'' Wallace said, ''and we didn't.'' [FoxSports.com]
- The Bengals (3-2) took down the previously undefeated New England Patriots, 13-6. What does it mean for Cincy? "Until the Bengals string together multiple wins, there really is very little that can be gleaned from their performance Sunday afternoon," wrote Coley Harvey. "They have been inconsistent much of the season, trading wins and losses. We'll see whether they can build momentum after the victory over one of the last of the NFL's unbeatens. Otherwise, the win meant Cincinnati did what we already knew – it can beat a great team." [ESPN]
- @aqshipley: Real good win on the road! Bmore fans here made it feel like a home game! Felt good to get my feet wet against good defense at left guard! [Twitter]
- @BaltimoreLuke: The #Ravens, #Bengals, and #Browns are each 3-2 with a 7 point differential through five weeks. Nothing easy so far in the AFC North. [Twitter]
- @PMGleason [Ravens PR] Obviously would be tough to do, but still fun to think about: Torrey Smith on pace for 1,779 rec. yards & Terrell Suggs for 22 sacks [Twitter]
- @BaltimoreLuke: He's been quiet since the first couple games, but that sack by Elvis Dumervil was just monstrous for the #Ravens. Really saved them. [Twitter]