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Ravens win ugly, but don't get help

BALTIMORE (AP) -- The Baltimore Ravens did their part to get into
the playoffs.

It wasn't enough.

After beating the Miami Dolphins 30-23 Sunday, the Ravens had to
wait until the late afternoon games ended to learn their postseason
fate.

To secure the final AFC wild-card spot, Baltimore (9-7) needed
to defeat Miami and have Buffalo lose to Pittsburgh, Denver lose to
Indianapolis and Jacksonville either tie or lose to Oakland.

Buffalo lost while the Ravens played, and the other two games
began soon after Baltimore walked off the field for what turned out
to be the final time this season.

"Time for a little Chinese food and a little game-watching,"
Ravens coach Brian Billick said before hurrying home.

The late games probably ruined his meal. Denver won 33-14 to
clinch the final wild-card spot and officially end Baltimore's
season.

"Regardless of what happens with the other teams, we had to win
this game in order for us to even have a chance," Ravens
quarterback Kyle Boller said before leaving the locker room. "I
think we made some good strides today."

Losses earlier in the season to Cleveland, Kansas City and
Cincinnati put the Ravens in a situation where they had to depend
on others to reach the postseason. That same kind of inconsistent
play was on display Sunday during a game that Baltimore should have
won handily.

"If there is anybody to blame for the situation, it's
definitely us," Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs said.

Playing against a downtrodden Miami team that was forced to
start third-string quarterback Sage Rosenfels, Baltimore built a
27-7 lead, then allowed the Dolphins to close to 27-21 before
holding on.

"If we could win 40-7, that would be great," Boller said,
"but that's the way it is."

Jamal Lewis scored a touchdown and ran for 167 yards, giving him
1,006 for the season.

Baltimore's Jarret Johnson returned an interception for a score
and teammate Ed Reed got his ninth interception and returned it 41
yards to get an NFL record for INT return yardage in a season
(358).

"He threw me the football," Reed said with a grin. "It's just
another record; it will be up there for however long it will be up
there."

But the Ravens' defense, playing without injured linebacker Ray
Lewis (broken wrist), was burned for a touchdown on the first play
from scrimmage and later yielded a 90-yard drive against a team
that concluded its worst season since 1969.

The Dolphins (4-12) finished 3-4 under interim coach Jim Bates.
Nick Saban has already been hired to coach Miami next season.

"When I took over eight weeks ago we were 1-8 and it was a
tough situation," Bates said. "For the last seven football games,
we've been in every one. Today we were down 27-7 -- 20 points -- and
there's no quit in the football team. We came back and still had a
chance to get back in it."

Miami used a 95-yard kickoff return by Wes Welker -- the
Dolphins' first for a score since 1989 -- and a 35-yard TD run by
Sammy Morris to get to 27-21.

It was 30-21 when Travis Minor appeared to score a touchdown for
Miami, but officials ruled he came up short and Anthony Weaver
ended the drive with an interception.

Rosenfels launched his first NFL start in grand style, throwing
a 76-yard touchdown pass to Chris Chambers on his initial play.
Chambers got behind cornerback Gary Baxter, caught the pass at the
Baltimore 42 and sprinted down the left sideline to complete the
longest reception of his career.

Starting for injured A.J. Feeley (ribs), Rosenfels went
16-for-38 for 264 yards and three interceptions.

"It wasn't enough. That's how I feel," Rosenfels said. "I
didn't make enough plays to win the game. I made some key mistakes
that I've got to learn from."

After Rosenfels shocked the Ravens with his TD pass, Baltimore
countered with a 64-yard touchdown drive capped by a 1-yard shovel
pass from Boller to tight end Terry Jones.

"You got to come back and answer it, and we did," said Boller,
who went 14-for-27 for 142 yards and a touchdown.

The Ravens led 10-7 before Johnson tipped a pass with his left
arm, gained control and ran 6 yards for his first NFL touchdown. It
was the team-record eighth interception returned for a touchdown
against the Dolphins this season.

Baltimore went up 20-7 at halftime and increased the margin on a
2-yard run by Lewis early in the third quarter.

Game notes
Miami Pro Bowl DE Jason Taylor (shoulder) left in the third
quarter and did not return. ... The Ravens were 0-6 when allowing
20 or more points.