NFL Nation: 2010 Week 9 Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: Steelers 27, Bengals 21

November, 8, 2010
CINCINNATI -- Here are some thoughts on the Pittsburgh Steelers' 27-21 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals:

What it means: It means the Steelers bounced back from a tough loss to the New Orleans Saints to improve to 6-2, and the Bengals' season is over at 2-6. Pittsburgh needed a big win to keep pace with the Baltimore Ravens (6-2), who own the head-to-head tiebreaker for first place in the AFC North. Cincinnati, a team which was built to win now, gave a good effort but is one of the NFL's biggest disappointments this year.

What I liked: Pittsburgh's efficiency was impressive for three quarters. The Steelers didn't do too much, but made the big plays when they were there. Receiver Mike Wallace caught a 39-yard touchdown on a well-designed trick play from Antwaan Randle El. That put Pittsburgh up 27-7 early in the fourth quarter, which was just enough to hold on. For the Bengals, receiver Terrell Owens continues to put up big numbers. He caught 10 passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns.

What I didn't like: I didn't like lack of urgency the Bengals had to start the game. For a team desperate for a win, to start with a fumble on the opening kickoff and blocked punt after its second drive is inexcusable. The Bengals have had several games where they came out completely flat then tried to make a late push. The NFL is too balanced to try to consistently pull off late-game comebacks. Cincinnati fell short by getting stopped on all four downs near Pittsburgh's end zone. For the Steelers, their fourth-quarter play was horrendous on both sides of the ball, but they survived.

Key injuries: There were plenty of injuries in this physical, AFC North game. The Steelers were banged up along the offensive line as starting tackle Max Starks (neck), guard Chris Kemoeatu (ankle) and center Maurkice Pouncey (lower leg) all left. Pouncey returned to the game and played in the second half. For Cincinnati, starting safety Chris Crocker suffered a calf injury in the second half.

What's next: Coming off a short week, the Steelers have their third prime-time game in a row, against the New England Patriots (6-2) at Heinz Field. It will be a battle of the best teams in the AFC. For the Bengals, it will be a long eight games. Cincinnati must play at the Indianapolis Colts (5-3) in what will be another tough contest. Perhaps the Bengals can build off their second-half effort.

Rapid Reaction: Packers 45, Cowboys 7

November, 7, 2010
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Dallas Cowboys have hit rock bottom. In a performance that probably surpasses their 44-6 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles to close the 2008 season, the Cowboys were blown away by the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night, 45-7, at Lambeau Field.

OK, officially the Cowboys are still in the playoff chase, but at 1-7 it appears doubtful the team will play in the middle of January. The Cowboys have lost five consecutive games, the first time they have lost five straight since 1997, when they finished 6-10. The Cowboys have been outscored 80-24 the last two games.

Wade Phillips' job status: Jerry Jones said on his weekly radio show that Phillips would return to coach the rest of the season. But now after this blowout loss, the Cowboys owner might not have a choice but to fire Phillips because it appears the team is not listening to him.

The offense is lacking: On the night, the Cowboys got one touchdown thanks to Jon Kitna's 2-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant with 16 seconds to play in the first half. The Cowboys finished with just 87 total offensive yards after three quarters. The Packers had 390 yards. When the game was over, the Packers compiled 415 yards of total offense compared to 215 for the Cowboys.

Injuries a concern: Cornerback Terence Newman played with a bad rib, which seemed to bother him most of the game. He couldn't wrap up and at times he looked like he couldn't run. But Newman did finish the game. Defensive end Marcus Spears left the game with a left calf injury and he didn't finish. Wide receiver Roy E. Williams was hit in the back of the helmet, he left the game briefly, but later returned. Bryan McCann hurt his left leg when he was pushed out of bounds on a kick return. but he returned. Outside linebacker Anthony Spencer hurt his left shoulder with 4:39 to play in the game.

A second quarter to forget: The game turned in the second quarter, but more importantly a decision by Phillips cost the Cowboys a possible challenge. The Packers went ahead, 21-0, and on the ensuing kickoff, McCann was stopped and it appeared his knee was on the ground, but he was stripped of the ball by Jarrett Bush. Nick Collins picked up the loose ball and returns it for a score, 26-yards with 2:04 to play to make it 28-0. The Cowboys had no timeouts left, they used their last one with 2:16 left, so they couldn't challenge the play. And with it not being under 2:00 the replay official couldn't ask for a review.

What's next: The Cowboys might make major changes to the personnel and to the coaching staff. Next week they visit the New York Giants, who might be the best team in the NFC East.
OAKLAND -- A look at a critical AFC West game.

What does it mean: The AFC West is now a muddled mess. The Chiefs, who have been leading the division all season, are now 5-3. The Raiders are 5-4. The San Diego Chargers, who have won two straight games, are 4-5. The Raiders, who won the game on a 33-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski, haven’t won more than five games in a season since 2002. Oakland is 3-0 against AFC West competition this season.

Tomorrow’s talker: The Raiders are one of the hottest teams in the NFL. They’ve won three straight games. They didn’t cruise against the Chiefs as they did in their previous two games, but they made the plays they had to make.

Sloppy times: This game was messy. The two teams combined for 27 penalties (the most in the NFL this season) for 240 yards. The Chiefs lost 10 points on penalties.

What’s next: Oakland has a bye and Kansas City plays at Denver on Sunday.

Rapid Reaction: Eagles 26, Colts 24

November, 7, 2010
PHILADELPHIA -- Eagles coach Andy Reid continued his post bye-week dominance with the 26-24 win over the Colts. Let's take a quick look at how he ran his post bye-week record to 12-0 with the Eagles.

What it means: Michael Vick was the best quarterback on the field Sunday, and it's not like Peyton Manning played poorly. Vick let DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy make plays for him in the first half, but he eventually overwhelmed the Colts' defense with his speed. Vick ripped off runs of 24 and 32 yards. And when the Colts desperately needed a stop in the fourth quarter, Vick almost seemed to toy with them by gliding down the field and stepping out of bounds just beyond the first-down marker. No one knew how Vick would respond to being hit after missing a month to a rib cartilage injury, but he absorbed several shots in the first half, and it didn't appear to bother him.

Defense answers the bell: Manning and the Colts owned the second quarter as they took a 17-16 halftime lead. Reserve tight end Jacob Tamme did his best Dallas Clark impression as he shredded the Eagles' defense. But for much of the second half, the Eagles held Manning in check. Linebacker Ernie Sims, fresh off his $50,000 fine from a hit against the Titans, sacked Manning in the fourth quarter and finished with five tackles. Rookie safety Nate Allen was knocked out of the game in the first half, but Kurt Coleman stepped in and played well in his place. In the first quarter, Asante Samuel intercepted an awful pass by Manning and returned it 33 yards to the Colts' 9-yard line. The Eagles allowed the Colts to climb back into this game twice, but they found a way to hold on in the end. A big reason for that was holding the Colts to only seven points in the second half. Samuel sealed the win with his second interception of the game.

The heroes: Vick and Jackson were electrifying in this game. Jackson had seven catches for 109 yards and a touchdown. Vick had nine carries for 75 yards and a touchdown. He completed 17 of 29 passes for 218 yards and a touchdown. The Eagles offense hit a lull in the second quarter, but Vick got things going again with a 32-yard scramble late in the third quarter that set up a touchdown that gave the Eagles a 26-17 lead.

Injuries: Eagles safety Quintin Mikell was called for unnecessary roughness for hitting a defenseless receiver in the second quarter. Replays showed that Mikell actually led with his shoulder on a hit that left Colts wide receiver Austin Collie on the ground until he was carted to the locker room. Mikell collided with Collie's shoulder on the play. Thankfully, Collie was alert at halftime and had full range of motion after suffering a concussion. It actually appeared his helmet collided with Eagles safety Kurt Coleman after he was hit by Mikell. The Eagles lost starting right guard Max Jean-Gilles to a concussion and rookie safety Nate Allen had X-rays for neck and back injuries, which were negative. Neither player returned to the game.

What's next: The Eagles travel to Washington for "Monday Night Football."

Rapid Reaction: Eagles 26, Colts 24

November, 7, 2010
Thoughts on the Eagles’ 26-24 win against the Colts at Lincoln Financial Field.

What it means: The Colts had a chance to match the best record in the AFC at 6-2. But injuries and a tough opponent on the road prevented it and they fell to 5-3, even with idle Tennessee atop the AFC South.

What I didn’t like: The Colts still had a chance with 18 second left, and we’ve seen Peyton Manning position them for a game-winning field goal in such circumstances an awful lot. This time the possession ended in an interception by Asante Samuel, his second of Manning on the day. Manning picked himself up and brushed himself off more often than usual, and forced to throw quickly so often he found long plays of 33 and 22 yards on a day when one big one might have lined things up to go the other way. The defense, meanwhile, allowed Philadelphia runs of 62 and 32 yards and pass plays of 58 and 34.

What I liked: The find-a-way 14-play, 85-yard, 4:07 drive, where the Colts got a touchdown to close it to 26-24 with 1:50 remaining and the decision to kickoff after that rather than trying an onside kick. Also, Indianapolis’ defense deep in its own territory, which forced the Eagles to send David Akers on for field goals four times. The Eagles could have been up 21-0 in the first quarter, which would have effectively ended this game.

Injury concern: Austin Collie suffered a concussion that appeared to leave him motionless for a good while on a hit I’m not sure was sorted out correctly by the officiating crew, who called it an incomplete pass and saw unnecessary roughness on a defenseless receiver.

What’s next: The Colts host Cincinnati in a regional rivalry that looked a lot more appealing when the schedule came out than it looks now.

A look at the New York Giants' 41-7 win against the Seattle Seahawks.

What it means: The Giants dismissed any notion of a hangover after the bye or a second-half collapse. They demolished an injury-decimated Seahawks team from the start. Since losing two straight and starting the season 1-2, the Giants have won five straight games and are establishing themselves as the team to beat in the NFC.

Giant start: The Giants raced out to a 35-0 lead by halftime. They scored their first 21 points in the span of three-minutes, 46-seconds. With Charlie Whitehurst making his first NFL start, the Seahawks had no chance of coming back.

Line dancing: The Giants shuffled their offensive linemen around in a major way. With Shaun O’Hara out with a mild Lisfranc sprain, the Giants moved guard Rich Seubert to center and slid tackle David Diehl to left guard. They started Shawn Andrews at left tackle and had Adam Koets, who had started three games in place of O’Hara, as an extra offensive lineman to use as tight-end eligible. According to the Giants, Tom Coughlin wanted a more experienced offensive line to combat the hostile Seattle home crowd and flexibility with Koets coming in and blocking as a TE-eligible lineman. It’s conceivable that O’Hara could miss the Dallas game and that this line will start again. The Giants have wanted to see how Andrews will work at tackle.

Diehl did leave with a hip injury, but X-rays were negative. During his absence, the Giants moved Koets to center and had Seubert at left guard. Koets later sprained his knee in the fourth quarter, so Coughlin needed all the flexibility he could get.

DEE-FENSE! As expected, it was a long day for the Seahawks without quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who was out with a concussion. Whitehurst got his first NFL regular-season start and it was forgettable. The Giants continued to shut down the run and Whitehurst couldn’t complete many passes. They intercepted Whitehurst twice, one coming at the goal line when Mike Williams could not haul in a catch and Terrell Thomas caught the ball off the tip. By the time Whitehurst scored his first touchdown in the NFL, the score was 41-7 in the fourth.

When the game was being decided in the first half, the Seahawks managed 81 yards of total offense, just 17 on the ground.

Poise in the noise: The Giants had lost four straight here in Seattle. And there was that one awful loss when the Giants had 11 false-start penalties here in 2005. So Coughlin preached “poise in the noise” all week and the Giants showed just that. Against a team that is rebuilding and banged up, the Giants took care of business and didn’t give Seattle any life. Offensively, Eli Manning was sharp, completing 21 of 32 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns. He wasn’t sacked once and, most important, he threw no interceptions. Hakeem Nicks continued his dominant play with six receptions for 128 yards and one touchdown and the Giants were dominant in a place where struggle with the crowd noise. The Giants offense outgained Seattle, 487-162.

Special teams: Not only did the Giants not surrender a touchdown to Leon Washington, but they forced a Washington fumble that resulted in one of Ahmad Bradshaw’s two touchdown runs. Rookie punter Matt Dodge also practically had a day off as he punted just one time.

What's next: For the second time in a month, the Giants face the hated Dallas Cowboys. The last time they saw their rivals, they left Dallas in shambles after knocking Tony Romo out with a broken clavicle. The Cowboys’ season is done, but Jerry Jones’s team would love to play spoiler against the streaking Giants. This won’t be as easy as some might think.

Rapid Reaction: Giants 41, Seahawks 7

November, 7, 2010
SEATTLE -- A few thoughts on the Seattle Seahawks' 41-7 blowout defeat to the New York Giants in Week 9:

What it means: The Seahawks have fallen apart in their last two games and it's increasingly apparent they're lacking in the talent department after losing multiple key players to injuries. Seattle lost sole possession of first place in the NFC West even though the Arizona Cardinals lost at Minnesota. The Seahawks and idle St. Louis Rams are both 4-4, one game better than Arizona. But the Rams defeated Seattle, 20-3, at the Edward Jones Dome earlier this season.

What I liked: Seattle's pass protection was better than anticipated given the injury situation on the offensive line. Charlie Whitehurstsuffered no sacks as Seattle used two or more tight ends frequently. That was about it. Sensing a dark day for the NFC West, I put personal gain above the best interests of the division by starting the Giants' Hakeem Nicks, the Vikings' Ryan Longwell and the Giants' defense in the Blog Network Gridiron Challenge fantasy league. Sure, the blog is better off when NFC West teams fare well. But if teams in the division are going to lose -- and it was clear heading into Sunday that they probably would -- why let fantasy points go to waste?

What I didn't like: Forget problems directly associated with the Seahawks' obvious talent disadvantage. Seattle had trouble executing snaps between quarterback and center. Whitehurst, making his first NFL start, too often threw inaccurately or at least ineffectively even when he had time. The pass protection was better than anticipated, in fact. The defense committed penalties in third-and-long situations early in the game, ceding momentum unnecessarily. Even dynamic return specialist Leon Washington lost a fumble early in the game.

No QB controversy: A stronger showing from Whitehurst might have generated conversation about whether he should remain in the lineup. Matt Hasselbeck, ruled out Sunday after suffering a concussion last week, remains the obvious choice once doctors clear him. The team expects Hasselbeck to return this week, but stricter guidelines for concussions could come into play.

Trending: Seattle has been outscored 74-10 in their last two games.

What's next: The Seahawks visit the Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Week 10.

Rapid Reaction: Jets 23, Lions 20

November, 7, 2010
DETROIT – A look at the New York Jets' 23-20 win against the Detroit Lions.

What it means: For the second time in three games, the New York Jets escaped near-certain defeat, scoring on their final three possessions (once in overtime) to defeat the Detroit Lions. This time, it wasn’t a pass-interference penalty that saved them. It was lousy clock management by the Lions and clutch play by Mark Sanchez & Co. that allowed the Jets to overcome a 10-point deficit in the final three minutes of regulation. Coupled with New England’s loss, the Jets moved into a first-place tie.

Analysis: The Jets were stunned when the Lions decided to pass the ball on a third-and-6 with two minutes remaining. The pass by backup Drew Stanton (in for the injured Matthew Stafford) was incomplete and the Jets got the ball with 1:40 to play with no timeouts left. If the Lions had run, they would’ve given the Jets about a minute -- and chances of a game-tying field goal would’ve been just about nil.

Kicker Nick Folk is having a tremendous year, and he came up huge, kicking a 36-yard field goal at the end of regulartion and winning it with a 30-yarder in OT. It’s an amazing comeback story by a kicker who was on the street almost a year ago.

For the second time in three games, Mark Sanchez led a fourth-quarter comeback win -- the only two of his career. He was mediocre for 56 minutes, but he perked up as soon as the offense went into a hurry-up mode. He likes the two-minute offense, and had been asking to do it earlier. He showed poise and patience in the pocket, leading three scoring drives.

There’s something wrong with the Jets’ offense. For the second straight week, they were undermined by dropped passes (two more by Jerricho Cotchery), penalties and turnovers. Sanchez threw an interception on an underthrown deep ball to Santonio Holmes, and Braylon Edwards was stripped of the ball after a short reception early in the third quarter. What is it with the Jets’ receivers and their butter fingers? They can’t even hold on to the ball after they make the catch. (See last week’s two strip interceptions.)

Of the 11 penalties, the costliest was Trevor Pryce’s roughing-the-kicker infraction on a 21-yard field-goal attempt. Pryce stumbled into Jason Hanson, cutting him down at the knees, but it’s still a penalty even if it’s not intentional. The Lions took the points off the board because it gave them a first down and they scored on Stafford’s 1-yard bootleg. By the way, Hanson was injured, so rookie defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh had to kick the PAT – and he missed. As if that mattered.

The low point of the day for the defense was a 90-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. Nickel back Drew Coleman gave up two completions for 38 yards to Nate Burleson, including the two-yard touchdown on the fade route. But the most damning sequence occurred before the touchdown, in goal-line, when the Jets had to burn two defensive timeouts because of confusion. That rarely happens to their defense, usually a well-coached unit. But it seems like the overall lack of discipline has spread like a virus to the defense.

Where was Ground and Pound? Facing the NFL’s 27th-ranked run defense, the Jets were absolutely convinced they’d be able to run all over the Lions. Didn’t happen. They tried everything, using “heavy” packages, featuring Shonn Greene (for a change) and sticking with it for as long as possible. No matter. They rushed for only 110 yards.

Want something positive? Sanchez’ bomb to Edwards with one minute remaining in the first half. Until that play, which gave the Jets a 10-7 lead, the offense had gone 86 minutes, 27 seconds without a touchdown (nearly six quarters), dating to the Week 6 win in Denver. There was nothing fancy about the play. On third-and-9, Edwards ran a ‘go’ route on cornerback Alphonso Smith. He caught the ball at the 21 and was home free, Sanchez’ pass traveling about 65 yards in the air. Going into the game, the Jets’ coaches felt the Lions’ cornerbacks were vulnerable. It took the Jets 29 minutes before they capitalized.

Here’s another positive: Revis Island is back. Cornerback Darrelle Revis delivered a vintage performance on Calvin Johnson, holding the Lions’ star receiver to one catch for 13 yards. Revis made a statement on the first play of the game, breaking up a deep sideline pass to Johnson. Clearly, Revis is over his hamstring injury, which affected him for about five weeks. The Lions stayed away from Revis and picked on Coleman throughout the game.

What’s ahead: Get ready for the Mangini Bowl. The Jets face their former coach for the first time since he was fired after the 2008 season, as they visit the Cleveland Browns. Another storyline is the battle of the Ryan brothers. Rex Ryan’s twin brother, Rob, is the Browns’ defensive coordinator. It’ll be a week of family trash talking.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Let’s hit the high (or low) points of Sunday’s affair at the Metrodome, won 27-24 by Minnesota.

What it means: The Minnesota Vikings avoided a supernova by eking out an overtime victory against the Arizona Cardinals, improving their record to 3-5 and (presumably) saving the job of their head coach. This game was ugly for the first three and 1/2 quarters, but the 43rd game-saving/winning drive of quarterback Brett Favre’s career was enough to send the team’s faithful home happy for at least one day.

What happened: The Vikings scored 14 points in the final 3 minutes, 38 seconds of regulation and then got a 35-yard field goal from Ryan Longwell on their first possession of overtime to win it.

Chilly watch: Owner Zygi Wilf wouldn’t discuss the status of coach Brad Childress before the game, but he did make a point of shaking hands with Childress during pregame warm-ups. I’m not sure if Childress’ job was resting on the outcome of this game, but if it were, you would assume there will be no coaching change this week. You could probably make an argument that this team shouldn’t need to score 17 unanswered points to beat the Cardinals at home, but I don’t see how Wilf can be justified making a move now if he wasn’t compelled to do so last week.

Coach-battlers watch: Favre threw for a career high 446 yards, completing 36 of 47 passes. One of his two interceptions came in the end zone, robbing the Vikings of at least three points in what was a one-score game. He was also fortunate that his other interception wasn’t returned for a touchdown; Cardinals safety Kerry Rhodes fumbled at the 3-yard line, and the ball trickled out of the back of the end zone for a touchback. Overall, however, it was hard to complain about a performance that --in case you forgot -- came with two bones still fractured in his left foot.

Coach-battler watch II: Receiver Percy Harvin caught a career-high nine passes for 126 yards but also lost a fumble on the opening kickoff of the second half, leading to a Cardinals touchdown. Harvin needed to come out of the game at least twice because of his sprained left ankle.

Apathy the best policy: Childress’ decision to waive Randy Moss and his Friday confrontation with Harvin might have raised the ire of the team’s fan base. But that anger sure didn’t manifest itself Sunday. If anything, the sellout crowd at the Metrodome was oddly quiet until the end of the fourth quarter, when I have to admit it got pretty loud as the Vikings clawed back. Earlier, however, the crowd’s near-silence was especially notable during the Cardinals’ two-minute drill to end the first half. Typically, crowd noise in the building makes it difficult for opposing offenses to run a no-huddle offense. Sunday, it felt more like a training-camp scrimmage. The loudest noises were whistles and the shouts of individual fans.

What’s next: One can only imagine. On the field, the Vikings travel to Soldier Field to take on the Chicago Bears next Sunday.
ATLANTA -- I’m heading downstairs for interviews and will be back with full analysis in a bit. But, first, here’s Rapid Reaction to Atlanta’s 27-21 victory against Tampa Bay.

What it means: The Falcons have sole possession of first place in the NFC South with a 6-2 record. But they’ve got a very real competitor in the Buccaneers. Atlanta played well overall, but the Buccaneers hung with the Falcons and made them really earn the win.

What’s next: Atlanta has a short week. The Falcons host the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night. The Bucs return home to host Carolina on Sunday.

Heroes: Atlanta’s defense. The Falcons struggled much of the day, but they came up with a huge goal-line stand late in the fourth quarter.

Rapid Reaction: Browns 34, Patriots 14

November, 7, 2010
CLEVELAND -- Rapid reaction from the Patriots’ 34-14 loss to the Browns:

What it means. After a week in which the Patriots could boast having the best record in the NFL at 6-1, they came crashing back to Earth. The Browns (3-5) outplayed them in every facet of the game, with Eric Mangini and his staff also getting the best of Bill Belichick and his staff. The Patriots were outplayed, outcoached, out-everythinged.

Gronkowski mistakes hurt the Patriots. Rookie tight end Rob Gronkowski made two mistakes that played a significant part in the final outcome. After the Browns went ahead 3-0, Gronkowski was set up in a wedge position on the kickoff and signaled for a fair catch on a short attempt. But he moved away from the ball, putting running back Sammy Morris in a tough spot. The Browns recovered and quickly went up 10-0. Then, with the Patriots looking to close to 17-14 at the half, Gronkowski fumbled at the 1, with the Browns recovering.

Brady and offense stuck in neutral. Quarterback Tom Brady was off his game as the Patriots’ offense continued its inconsistent ways. Brady looked visibly frustrated at times. There were times when the offensive struggles were simply a result of no one getting open. Other times, it was the Browns mixing their defensive looks and creating pressure. The Patriots didn’t help themselves with some drops.

Kicker situation important to monitor. Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski left the game in the second quarter with a thigh injury and did not return. The Patriots will likely be looking at their emergency list this week for kicker options. Wes Welker had a successful point-after attempt and also a kickoff in the fourth quarter in Gostkowski’s absence.

Credit to Hillis, McCoy & Browns. As bad as the Patriots looked in this game, credit should also go to the Browns. They took it to the Patriots physically and Colt McCoy played with veteran-like poise. They deserved the win, with Peyton Hillis and the offensive line powering through what had been a solid New England run defense, and McCoy delivering in critical situations.

What’s next. The Patriots travel to Pittsburgh for a Sunday night game against the Steelers. After the way the Patriots were run over by Hillis (29 carries, 184 yards) and the Browns, they’ll have to prove that they can stand up to the physical Steelers. The Browns, who looked sharp coming off their bye, host the Jets.

Rapid Reaction: Ravens 26, Dolphins 10

November, 7, 2010
BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Ravens defeated the Miami Dolphins 26-10 in M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday.

What it means: The Dolphins no longer are kings of the road. They were thoroughly outplayed on both sides of the ball and would've lost by a wider margin had the Ravens not collapsed twice inside the 15-yard line.

Great start squandered: The Dolphins' struggling offense made a statement on their opening possession, driving 75 yards on 11 plays for a touchdown. They didn't score another one. Chad Henne threw three interceptions.

Defensive troubles: Throughout the game, the Dolphins struggled with tackling the Ravens' backs. Cornerback Sean Smith should have had a pick-six in the third quarter but dropped a Joe Flacco pass he broke on perfectly.

Brown out: Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown ran six times for 45 yards and a touchdown on the opening drive. He had one more carry the rest of the first half. He finished with nine runs for 59 yards.

Carpenter's streak ends: Dan Carpenter received the NFL's special teams player of the month honor a few days ago and extended his streak of successful field goal attempts to 14. But he missed from 46 yards early in the fourth quarter on a kick that would have drawn the Dolphins within a touchdown.

What's next: The Dolphins will see Randy Moss' debut with the Tennessee Titans firsthand in Sun Life Stadium.