Week 10 followed the theme of Week 9, with a supposed Super Bowl contender falling flat on its face.
The Baltimore Ravens looked horrible Thursday night. They were 6-2, facing a 2-7 Miami Dolphins team that had lost seven in a row before barely beating the inept Houston Texans last week.
Lamar Jackson came in as a real MVP candidate, and he did nothing until very late. The Ravens' offense did very little as a whole. They couldn't run it. Nothing seemed to be open in the passing game. The Dolphins' defense was a doormat all season before Thursday, and then suddenly clamped down like the 2002 Buccaneers.
The Dolphins won 22-10 in a game that the Ravens would like to forget. You'd typically say that loss could cost Baltimore a division title or playoff seeding. But the way this season has gone, there are plenty of other bad losses coming up by other AFC playoff hopefuls.
Ravens couldn't get much going
We've gotten some good Thursday games this season, but this was not one of them.
The Ravens came down and got a field goal on their first drive, and that was basically it. Everything was hard after that. The Ravens got a 19-yard gain on an end around to Devin Duvernay on their first drive and a 15-yard catch by Mark Andrews later in the first quarter, and they didn't get another play longer than 13 yards into the fourth quarter. The teams combined for 16 punts, with eight each.
The Dolphins defense ranked 30th in yards allowed and 27th in points allowed coming into the game. Of all the things that could have happened Thursday night, the Dolphins shutting down the Ravens' explosive offense didn't seem like a possibility. But that's what happened.
The defense provided Miami's first touchdown, too. With Miami's offense struggling — Jacoby Brissett struggled until he hurt his knee, then Tua Tagovailoa came in even though Brissett thought he could return and Tagovailoa struggled too — the defense came up with the biggest play of the game. Cornerback Xavien Howard stripped Sammy Watkins on a short completion, recovered the fumble and returned it 49 yards for a touchdown. The Dolphins led 15-3 after that.
Finally, a 99-yard Ravens drive, helped by some defensive penalties, ended with a 5-yard touchdown to Mark Andrews. There was still more than four minutes left and Baltimore trailed 15-10. But right after that, the Ravens somehow didn't cover receiver Albert Wilson and he went for an easy 64 yards, leading to a quarterback sneak touchdown by Tagovailoa. It was that kind of sloppy night for the Ravens.
Ravens suffer a rough loss
The Ravens' dud on Thursday night was reminiscent of the Cowboys in Week 9. Or was it the Bills in Week 9? Maybe it was like the Bengals, Packers or Rams in Week 9.
There's nothing bankable in the NFL right now. Maybe the Arizona Cardinals can be trusted, but we might not want to jinx that before they play Sunday. Every contender has taken a bad loss lately, even the Cardinals against a severely shorthanded Packers team two weeks ago. The Ravens had an ugly loss a few weeks ago when the Bengals beat them 41-17. They didn't have the bad losses out of their system, apparently.
The Ravens have been winning a lot of close games this season. That might have masked some weaknesses. The Ravens have lost a lot due to injury. They lost running backs, and the run game went nowhere Thursday night. Star left tackle Ronnie Stanley is done for the season, and the Ravens couldn't protect Jackson against Miami.
It could be a one-week blip for the Ravens. It was just an ugly one. Really ugly. That makes them like every other so-called championship contender this season.