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Five instant observations from Ravens' dominant win over Dolphins

Five instant observations from Ravens' dominant win over Dolphins

BALTIMORE - Five instant observations after the Ravens’ most impressive win of the season, 38-6, over the Dolphins (7-5). The win kept the Ravens (7-5) in first place in the AFC North, in control of their playoff destiny with four games left to play:

1. The Ravens’ offense was finally potent.

The Ravens had five offensive possessions in the first half, and scored on four of them. In the first half alone, the Ravens had 303 yards total offense, and Joe Flacco had three touchdown passes, completing throws to 10 different targets. This was the breakout offensive game the Ravens had been seeking. That should give them confidence heading into Monday Night Football next week, when they visit the Patriots.

2. Flacco could be gearing up for a big December.

This was Flacco’s best game of the season, setting a franchise record for completions with 36. His numbers were gaudy – 36 for 47, 381 yards, four touchdowns, one interception, 119.2 passer rating. Flacco’s history of playing his best football late in the season bodes well for the Ravens, especially since Flacco now looks comfortable running offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg’s offense. 

If Flacco gets hot in December, he’s good enough to carry the Ravens to the playoffs, whether you think he’s elite or not.

3.The play of tight end Dennis Pitta is a tribute to his perseverance.

Many people urged Pitta to retire after his second major hip surgery. However, Pitta (nine catches, 90 yards) was an offensive force in this game. Consider that Pitta had not scored a touchdown since 2013.  When asked about Pitta not scoring a touchdown this season on Wednesday, Flacco said, “He is playing really well. You cannot try to make those things happen; they just start happening.” Pitta made things happen in this game. Retiring is the last thing on Pitta’s mind.

4. The Ravens’ defense is among the NFL’s best, and it’s locked in.

The Dolphins came into this game riding a six-game winning streak. But they were dominated. If not for a fumble by Pitta that set up the Dolphins’ only touchdown, they might have been shutout. Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi (12 carries, 61 yards) was contained by the Ravens’ No. 1-ranked run defense. With cornerback Jimmy Smith back in action after a two-game absence, and linebacker Elvis Dumervil finally healthy, the Ravens’ defense isn’t going away.

5. Only one of these teams looked like a legit playoff contender.

If the Ravens have had trouble getting respect this season, what did this game say about the Dolphins? New coach Adam Gase has the Dolphins headed in the right direction. But they were thoroughly outplayed in this one.

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Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters backs out of Pro Bowl, replaced by Steelers' Joe Haden

Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters backs out of Pro Bowl, replaced by Steelers' Joe Haden

Marcus Peters was named to his third career Pro Bowl in 2019, but the Ravens cornerback has decided to back out of the NFL's All-Star game.

Pittsburgh cornerback Joe Haden will be headed to Orlando in Peters' place, the Steelers announced on Wednesday.

Peters will not participate in the Pro Bowl due to injury, according to the Steelers' release. The terms of his injury have not been disclosed, but Peters did not miss a game for the Ravens since coming over in an October trade.

Upon his arrival in the Charm City, the cornerback made a huge impact in Baltimore. Peters was named to the NFL's All-Pro team, recording three interceptions and two touchdowns in 10 games with the Ravens. The 26-year-old corner re-signed with Baltimore for three years this past December.

But after Baltimore's season came to an unexpectedly early end this past Saturday against Tennessee, the cornerback has chosen not to participate in a relatively meaningless game. It's worth noting that Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and his staff will be coaching the AFC in the Pro Bowl.

Baltimore had an NFL-high 12 players selected to the Pro Bowl this season, but at least one of them won't be in Orlando in two weeks.

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John Harbaugh, Ravens staff to coach AFC in 2020 Pro Bowl

John Harbaugh, Ravens staff to coach AFC in 2020 Pro Bowl

In addition to the 12 Pro Bowl selections for the Ravens, there will be some familiar faces in Orlando next weekend. 

Coach John Harbaugh and the rest of the Ravens' staff will head to Florida to coach the AFC in the Pro Bowl, the team announced Wednesday. They’re awarded the chance by virtue of having the AFC's best record no longer in the playoffs. 

The NFC team will be coached by Sean Payton and the rest of the Saints staff after they finished the regular season 13-3 but were eliminated by the Vikings in the Wild-Card round. 

The Ravens' coaching staff has previously coached the Pro Bowl, once in 2014, and will have the opportunity to coach an NFL-best 12 Ravens during the game.

It still remains to be seen who will play in the Pro Bowl for the Ravens, but Mark Andrews has confirmed he would play. Lamar Jackson was non-committal on Saturday immediately after the loss to the Titans.

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