MIAMI - The Miami Dolphins beat the Ravens at their own game last night.
Unleashing a pass rush that sacked quarterback Tony Banks six times - including twice on the goal line - the Dolphins dealt the Ravens a 19-6 dose of reality before 73,464 and a national TV audience at rain-soaked Pro Player Stadium.
"Every aspect of the game, they physically beat us," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "It's not about schemes, it's not about coming off an emotionally big win.
"We got physically beat by a very good team. Both sides of the ball - offense and defense - beat us to the punch. There's no explanation, no excuse for it."
No short-term relief, either.
The Ravens' first loss of the season dropped them into a three-way tie for the AFC Central Division lead with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Cleveland Browns at 2-1.
"It's going to be a long ride home," Banks said. "I think a lot of us were envisioning ourselves 3-0, playing a home game next week, and that didn't happen. This is another test for us to see how we bounce back from a loss. We haven't lost too much here lately.
"I think we'll be all right. We've got good character people around here. We've just got to get back to work."
A week after the Ravens overturned a 17-0 deficit against the Jaguars to notch an exhilarating win, they spotted the Dolphins (2-1) a 13-point lead and never made up the difference.
The Ravens' offense disappeared in the torrential rains of Hurricane Gordon that pelted the area in the first half, and resurfaced only sporadically in the second.
"The weather took a little away from our game," Billick said. "Had it not been raining in the first half, I don't know if it would've changed things."
The Ravens had their chances, however. Altogether, they had four penetrations in the red zone - reaching the 12-, 1-, 15- and 18-yard lines - and all they had to show for it was a pair of Matt Stover field goals. Stover, whose streak of 22 consecutive field goals was broken when his 30-yard attempt at the end of the first half was tipped at the line of scrimmage, hit from 27 and 33 yards.
Baltimore's best opportunity came early in the second half after Lamar Smith punched over for a 7-yard touchdown run for the Dolphins.
From their own 23, the Ravens drove to first-and-goal at the Miami 1 in nine plays. A 6-yard run by fullback Obafemi Ayanbadejo, behind a clearout block by center Jeff Mitchell, carried to the 1.
Over the next three plays, the Ravens had to burn two timeouts and absorbed two critical sacks to back them up to the 10-yard line.
A safety blitz by Brian Walker on first down dropped Banks at the 9. A second-down scramble by Banks got them back to the 3. A third-down sack by Jason Taylor left them staring at a field goal.
Three plays inside the 10. Three aborted pass plays. Billick defended the play calls "because we could not physically shove it in," he said.
Banks accepted blame for the failed pass protection, saying he held the ball too long. Billick spread the blame liberally.
Ravens all wet in Miami loss
Dolphins' defense dominates in rain, as Ravens lose first; 'They physically beat us'; 6 sacks, red-zone woes spur drop to tie for 1st
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