AC in the AM: A Disappointing Night In Baltimore

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Thoughts and observations from a frustrating loss to the Ravens:

• This time the Dolphins fell behind 20-0 at the half and simply never found a rhythm on either side of the ball. This time there was not even a hint of a fourth quarter comeback. The offense, in particular, never got going, never really challenged. You lose 40-0 it’s never one thing; it’s just about everything.

• What is it about the Ravens? That’s seven losses for the Dolphins in their last eight games against them.

• Quarterback Matt Moore struggled in his first start of the season. The big plays never came. Nor did the long drives. He threw a pair of fourth quarter Pick Six’s, the first to a blitzing linebacker and the second to a cornerback who stepped in front of a quick out pattern. Any way you look at it, it wasn’t the type of performance we had expected, certainly after what Moore did in the fourth quarter against the Jets.

• Moore had a few nice throws, a 20-yard pass to Kenny Stills on a third-and-five play, but this offense was never able to sustain much of anything. “I’m just trying to figure out the reasons why,” said coach Adam Gase.

• Here’s an example. Jay Ajayi busts out on a 21-yard run on his first carry of the game. You had to think that run was going to begin a big night. But that was basically it for Ajayi, many times struggling to just get back to the line of scrimmage. He would gain just two yards on his next 12 carries. That’s seven straight games without a rushing touchdown. This offense simply can’t prosper when Ajayi is ineffective.

• A dose of perspective: As bad as things were against the Ravens, the Dolphins are still 4-3 and under this coaching staff have shown an ability to put losses like this one behind them. They’ll certainly need to.

• Concern: The offensive line continues to struggle. Not enough creases for the running game. Not enough time for the quarterback. How do you fix it? That’s one of the most pressing challenges currently facing this team.

• Another concern: That’s two weeks in a row the secondary has been beaten by an over the top touchdown catch, in this case a 34-yarder to Jeremy Maclin.

• Positives? There really weren’t many. It was good see Leonte Carroo more involved in the passing game with six receptions, I liked how Matt Burke utilized his young cornerbacks in blitz packages and No. 1 pick Charles Harris started his first game and had a nice early pressure. But when you lose 40-0, when you suffer one of the worst losses in team history, there is no place for a feel good narrative. This team needs to regroup in a hurry.

• Even the rushing defense, one of the few constants all season, had an off night, giving up 174 yards and over four yards a carry.

• The offense clearly needs a healthy DeVante Parker and it appears his sprained ankle is in the final stages of recovery. That could be a real positive.

• As for Gase, he’s simply going to continue searching for answers. “We have to comb through things and try to reset everything,” he said. “We just didn’t match them (the Ravens) from the get go.”

• Now the Dolphins get to take a deep breath with 10 days off before their next game. This is as close to a bye as the Dolphins will have for the remainder of this season, the players getting at least the next three days off. After everything that has happened over the last couple of months, they could certainly use the break.

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