Ravens roll over Dolphins in Cutler’s first start
Baltimore quarterback Ryan Mallett passed for one touchdown and 113 yards, and kicker Justin Tucker accounted for three field goals and a recovered fumble to lead the Ravens to a 31-7 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Thursday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.
The Dolphins (1-1) started quarterback Jay Cutler, signed Aug. 7, and running back Jay Ajayi, the Pro Bowl selection who got out of concussion protocol Tuesday.
Cutler, 34, is replacing quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who sustained a season-ending knee injury Aug. 3. Cutler ended 3 of 6 passing for 24 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. He played two series, which amounted to nine snaps.
Baltimore (2-0), which has been dealing with a rash of offseason injuries, including a back problem that still has No. 1 quarterback Joe Flacco sidelined, scored 31 unanswered points to overcome a 7-0 deficit early in the second quarter.
The Ravens, who rushed for 117 yards, took advantage of a pivotal second-quarter stretch to take the lead for good. Tucker kicked a 52-yard field goal, recovered a fumble by Miami kick returner Senorice Perry, and then kicked a 27-yard field goal in a span of 2:14 to cut the deficit to 7-6.
Baltimore added a 1-yard touchdown pass from Mallett (13 of 22, two interceptions) to tight end Larry Donnell to take a 13-7 halftime lead.
Ravens quarterback Josh Woodrum finished 8 of 10 for 110 yards while running back Javorius Allen led Baltimore in rushing (10 carries, 40 yards).
Ajayi, a Pro Bowl selection last year after rushing for 1,272 yards, ended with two carries for minus-2 yards and one reception for 11 yards. Ajayi had a 19-yard carry wiped out by a holding penalty.
In the big picture, Miami is hoping Cutler can get up to speed quickly enough to replicate the success he had under Dolphins head coach Adam Gase in 2015 in Chicago. Gase served as the Bears’ offensive coordinator that year. Cutler finished the 2015 season with 21 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, and a career-best 92.3 passer rating.
The Ravens host Buffalo on Aug. 26, while Miami visits Philadelphia on Aug. 24.