Ravens end Dolphins' season
Published: Sunday, January 4, 2009 at 11:48 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 4, 2009 at 11:48 p.m.
MIAMI — Some dreams die hard. Others end up in Ed Reed's hands.
The Miami Dolphins ended a remarkable season with an unremarkable performance, losing 27-9 to Baltimore in the first round of the NFL playoffs Saturday at Dolphin Stadium.
Miami quarterback Chad Pennington threw four interceptions, one of which was returned by Reed 64 yards for the game's first touchdown. Reed also killed a Miami drive in the third quarter with a pick at the Baltimore 3-yard line.
"The fourth interception, that was Ed Reed being Ed Reed," Pennington said. "He shows up in a place you could never imagine."
Pennington had engineered an amazing turnaround in Miami, leading a team that was 1-15 a year ago to the playoffs. But the Ravens stuffed Miami's running attack, allowing only 52 rushing yards and forcing the game into Pennington's hands. He threw for 252 yards, but the four interceptions killed any chance Miami had of winning.
Miami fans who were tailgating more than three hours early poured out of the stadium early as well when Baltimore scored the clincher on a 5-yard run by rookie quarterback Joe Flacco.
Flacco only completed 9-of-23 passes but the Baltimore defense didn't need a lot from its offense.
"Our defense gave us a lot of chances," Flacco said. "You sit on the sideline and it's what you expect. You get used to it."
The Ravens advance to face Tennessee on Saturday.
Baltimore's only turnover of the game — a fumble by running back Le'Ron McClain — turned into a Miami field goal. But even that first score was deflating as the Dolphins were unable to punch it in from second-and-goal at the one. When they finally did score a touchdown in the fourth quarter the extra point was blocked.
The game turned on Reed's pick-six late in the first half. Pennington launched a deep pass from his own 13-yard line. Ted Ginn Jr. tripped on a defender's feet going for the ball and Reed made an over-the-shoulder catch. He started left, then reversed his field to score the touchdown.
"When you go back and look at it, you're going to see a lot of blocks," Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said. "It starts to look like a punt return."
Asked how many yards he covered on the return, Reed said, "Oh man, counting the zig-zag? I'm not sure. It felt like a 200 from track so it took awhile to catch my breath. I don't think I caught by breath until the third quarter. It was fun."
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