MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. Tua Tagovailoa went out on the field, played ball in his injured left hand, and waved his arms in recognition of the cheers.
And then he stopped before entering the tunnel to bow, a rare celebration for the Miami Dolphins this season.
Xavien Howard forced a fumble and returned it 49 yards for a touchdown, Tagovailoa came off the bench and capped his night with a 1-yard steal for a score with 2:19 left and the Dolphins stunned the Baltimore Ravens 22-10 on Thursday night. .
“Every win is good,” Tagovailoa said. “No rumors, no external factors of noise had anything to do with what we were doing tonight.”
The Dolphins (3-7) got three field goals from Jason Sanders in what became their second win in five days. Tagovailoa – who couldn’t start due to a broken finger on his left, or throwing, hand – threw for 158 yards in relief from Jacoby Brissett, who passed for 156 yards before having to leave in the third quarter with an injured right knee.
“I think it’s hard to get into a game, second half,” Tagovailoa said. “You have to warm up, you have to get your head back into the mindset of going in and playing, but that’s the NFL. You have to be ready anytime.”
Baltimore’s streak of 51 regular-season games with at least 14 points – the second longest such streak in NFL history behind New England’s 63-game run from 2009 through 2013 – is over.
An emphatic ending, at that.
“We just played poorly and it’s because of our coaching,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “It starts with me. I didn’t do a good job preparing those guys. “
Miami’s defense carried an offense that had one quarterback injured, having injured one take his place, and saw its only trip to the end zone in the first 57 minutes come from an offensive lineman who got just far enough on a back throw to get. the ball over the goal line – just so it wouldn’t count because he wasn’t an eligible receiver.
It didn’t matter. The offense did enough, and the defense did more than enough.
“The defense played great,” Tagovailoa said.
Lamar Jackson completed 26 of 43 passes for 238 yards and a touchdown for Baltimore (6-3). Mark Andrews had the scoring for the Ravens, who dominated Miami in the teams ’most recent three meetings on Thursday – winning by a combined 137-16 score.
Not this time. Not even close.
“We have to work,” Harbaugh said. “We have to be much better.”
Brissett had a 52-yard completion to Isaiah Ford late in the half on what appeared to be a broken play that became Miami’s longest win of the season – to that point, anyway. Sanders tied on a chip shot, the Dolphins took a 6-3 lead into the break and, somehow, had the lead for good.
Andrews ’point catch got Baltimore 15-10, just close enough for it to appear that Miami was on the ropes. Tagovailoa found Albert Wilson for a 64-yard gain – Miami’s longest game of the season and the longest pass of Tagovailoa’s NFL career – with about three minutes left, and then the QB muscled in from the 1 to seal the victory.
“We just didn’t play good football,” Ravens defender Calais Campbell said. “At the end of the day, they played better football than we do today.”
The closest both offenses came to the end zone during the first 55 minutes of the game was a play halfway through the third quarter, when Tagovailoa completed a pass to right guard Robert Hunt. The lineman rumbled towards the goal line, was overturned and appeared to reach the ball over the plane.
It wouldn’t count anyway. Hunt was not an eligible receiver, the Dolphins were content with a field goal and a 9-3 lead.
And soon after, finally, there was a TD. Howard stripped Ravens receiver Sammy Watkins’ ball after a catch on the resulting Baltimore possession, picked up the fumble and scored to put Miami up 15-3.
“Great play,” Dolphins coach Brian Flores said. “X, he did a great job for us and he showed up again, did a great play in a great moment. We needed it. Pulled it out, took it out and won. Great game in the game. “