Sunday, January 4, 2009
Ravens-Dolphins halftime notes
By James Walker
Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
MIAMI -- The Baltimore Ravens lead the Miami Dolphins, 13-3, in Sunday's wild-card game.
Here are several observations from the first half:
- Safety Ed Reed's 64-yard interception return for a touchdown could be one of the best possible scenarios for Baltimore. It gave the Ravens a lead at halftime and takes the pressure off rookie quarterback Joe Flacco and the offense in the second half. Flacco has played his best football this season when Baltimore has a lead. Also, the Ravens are 3-0 this season when Reed scores a touchdown.
- It was evident in the first quarter how Miami was going to attack the Ravens on the ground. The Dolphins are running on the perimeter as opposed to straight up the middle to try to get most of their yards. The strategy hasn't worked much as Baltimore held Miami to 30 yards rushing in the first half.
- It's somewhat surprising the Ravens have yet to use rookie tailback Ray Rice. Rice, who missed the past three games with a calf injury, has the type of speed to give Miami's defense trouble. But it's possible that without any carries in the past month, the Ravens could be weary of giving Rice the ball cold in the playoffs.
- Miami's decision to kick a field goal on Baltimore's 1-yard line could be questioned. So far this has been a defensive struggle and the Dolphins had their best chance to score a touchdown early with just 1 more yard. Instead, they took the field goal and trail by 10 points at halftime.