Tucker's late FG lifts Ravens over Dolphins
Miami, FL (.com) - Justin Tucker kicked a 44-yard field goal with 1:42 remaining to give Baltimore the lead and Miami rookie Caleb Sturgis missed a 57-yard attempt in the final minute, as the Ravens held on for a 26-23 victory over the Dolphins on a sun-baked day at Sun Life Stadium.
Baltimore trailed 13-6 at the intermission, but scored 17 straight points for a 23-13 lead early in the fourth.
Sturgis pulled Miami within a touchdown with a 48-yard field goal with 9:38 remaining and the Dolphin defense tied the game just 95 seconds later. Rookie defensive end Dion Jordan hit Joe Flacco's arm as he went to throw and Reshad Jones picked off the floater before racing 25 yards untouched to the end zone.
"That stuff happens," Flacco said of the interception return for a score. "I had Deonte (Thompson) up the sideline so I took my three steps, moved a little to the right and got ready to let one go to him and the next thing you know the ball's going straight up in the air and returned for a touchdown."
After a trade of punts left Baltimore with excellent field position at its own 40, Ray Rice ran twice for 12 yards and Flacco hit Torrey Smith for 14. Two more Rice carries followed by a Bernard Pierce plunge set it up for Tucker, who calmly drilled his fourth field goal to give the Ravens the lead.
The Dolphins quickly faced 4th-and-10, but Ryan Tannehill found Brandon Gibson behind the Baltimore defense for a 46-yard pickup. After a spike to stop the clock, Tannehill was sacked and misfired on a third-down pass to bring on Sturgis, who pulled his attempt wide left. It was his first miss of the year.
"I miss-hit it a little bit," Sturgis admitted. "It was a great snap and hold, the protection was great, the wind usually blows against you there and I made sure I got it there and just miss-hit the ball a little bit and cost the team."
Flacco completed 19-of-32 passes for 269 yards and Rice finished with 74 yards on 27 carries with a pair of touchdowns for the Ravens (3-2), who were coming off a 23-20 loss at Buffalo and won on the road for the first time in three tries this season.
Rice added six catches for 28 yards and Smith also had six catches for 121 in Baltimore's fourth straight win, including the postseason, over Miami.
Tannehill connected on 21-of-40 throws for 307 yards with a touchdown, but had little help from a struggling offensive line. He was sacked six times and the line helped pave the way for a meager 22 yards rushing.
Mike Wallace caught seven passes for 105 yards, but only had one catch in the second half, as Miami (3-2) has followed a 3-0 start with consecutive losses. The Dolphins, coming off Monday's 38-17 setback at New Orleans, now have their bye before a Week 7 matchup with Buffalo.
On a near-90-degree day at kickoff, the Ravens grabbed a 3-0 lead on their initial offensive series of the contest as a 41-yard catch and run by Smith to convert 3rd-and-5 set up a 42-yard Tucker field goal.
Miami was unable to pick up a first down on its first three possessions, and twice caught a break when an interception was reversed on replay and Tannehill recovered a snap over his head. The Dolphins then fell on a Rice fumble at the Baltimore 29, but moved only far enough for a game-tying 37-yard field goal from Sturgis.
Baltimore again came up with a big play early in the second quarter, as a 43- yard connection from Flacco to Ed Dickson led to a 50-yard field goal from Tucker for a 6-3 edge. The Dolphins answered in similar fashion when Wallace hauled in a 49-yard pass from Tannehill to set up a tying 25-yard kick from Sturgis.
The Dolphins moved in front for the first time in the final two minutes of the half, as Tannehill engineered a 60-yard drive for the game's first touchdown. A 30-yard pass to Brian Hartline converted 3rd-and-10 and he followed with a 21-yard catch on the next play before Charles Clay caught a 9-yard TD pass with 46 seconds left to make it 13-6.
A pair of pass interference penalties on the opening drive of the second half gave the Ravens a total of 55 yards, and Rice crashed into the end zone from two yards away to cap the 80-yard series for the tying touchdown.
After a quick Miami punt, Baltimore drove from its own 20 to the Miami seven thanks to a third-down pickup by Rice and a 40-yard pass from Flacco to Tandon Doss. The Dolphins eventually forced a 25-yard field goal from Tucker for a 16-13 edge with 4:18 left in the third.
The Dolphins reached the Baltimore 45 on the ensuing series, but an 18-yard pass to Wallace was challenged and reversed, eventually forcing a punt, and Baltimore marched 94 yards for another score.
A 22-yard pass from Flacco to Smith on 3rd-and-10 kept the drive alive early and Doss converted a short third down with a 17-yard catch in the first minute of the fourth quarter before Rice went into the end zone off left tackle from the three to increase the margin to 23-13.
Rice, battling a nagging hip injury, recorded his first multi-TD game this season ... Tannehill has been sacked a league-high 24 times in 2013 ... Miami linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, who played the past four seasons for the Ravens and signed as a free agent with the Dolphins in the offseason, recovered the Rice fumble in the first half, but left the contest with an undisclosed injury ... Miami also lost cornerback Nolan Carroll to a rib injury ... Baltimore will host Green Bay next Sunday.
October 6, 2013, at 06:28 PM ET
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