Matt Moore talks about his first start of the season
Reality check time, Miami Dolphins.
You are not a good team when you cannot run, throw, catch, tackle, cover or punt.
In fact, you are not even a bad team.
You are the unfit team that gets hammered by a wholly mediocre Ravens outfit, 40-0, on national television.
And even worse, you might also be a dirty team.
That might be Kiko Alonso’s reputation for at least the short term after delivering a shoulder to Joe Flacco’s head late in the second quarter.
Alonso, somehow, was allowed to stay in the game. Flacco was not so lucky. Alonso’s hit concussed the Ravens quarterback. It also set off a sideline melee that included even Baltimore coach John Harbaugh.
Alonso can expect a steep fine, if not a suspension, from the league in the days to come.
And the Dolphins can probably expect a change at their most important position.
On a night that was as embarrassing as it was painful for the Dolphins, there was one silver lining:
There will be no quarterback controversy in Miami.
Jay Cutler, the job will be yours when healthy.
Matt Moore played like a backup Thursday. And will be again — as soon as next Sunday against the Raiders.
Moore was brutal Thursday, throwing behind, in front of and through his receivers.
His stat line? 25 of 44 for 176 yards.
And just went the Dolphins showed the faintest sign of life, he imploded.
The Dolphins (4-3) were inside the 35, down 20, early in the fourth quarter. Moore targeted Landry. He threw it straight to C.J. Mosley, who plays for the Ravens (4-4). Mosley raced 63 yards for the game-ending touchdown.
He was not done. He threw another pick-six late in the game, this one to Jimmy Smith.
To be clear: The blame was not Moore’s alone. Far from.
The offensive line might not be the worst in football. But it is probably close.
Jay Ajayi had nowhere to run for the fifth time in seven games.
Ajayi ran for just 23 yards on 13 carries. That was bad. What makes it worse: He had 21 of those yards on one carry.
What makes it far worse: the Ravens entered the game allowing 145 yards per game on the ground, most in the league.
On seven of the Dolphins’ first 10 possessions, they managed five or fewer yards. On four of those drives, they had negative yards.
It was more than bad. It was inept. The Dolphins were shut out in the first half for the fourth time in six games.
Flacco’s backup, Ryan Mallett, is not highly regarded around the league. And yet even he moved the ball better than a Moore-led offense.
The Dolphins have now scored 92 points this year. Their 13.1 points-per-game average is worst in the NFL.
The Ravens had such little fear of the Dolphins that they were content running the ball and punting in the second half, believing (rightly) that the only way the Dolphins could beat them was by beating themselves.
How about the defense? That was suppposed to be a strength.
It was not Thursday.
Bobby McCain was scorched by Jeremy Maclin on a 34-yard touchdown pass.
The Dolphins allowed a fumble — for a touchdown.
The run defense allowed Alex Collins, a running back out who played his prep ball at South Plantation, to have a career day. Collins ran for 113 yards on 18 carries.
And he kept ripping off long gains in the second half, even though the Dolphins knew the Ravens had no interest in throwing the ball.
The Dolphins have been a second-half team. They outscored their opponents by a combined 17 points after halftime entering the game.
But none of that magic was available Thursday. Not here, in a stadium in which the Dolphins have never won, against a team that has beaten them seven of the last eight times the teams have faced.
The Ravens have a way of exposing the Dolphins’ flaws and showing the world who they are.
And right now, the Dolphins are not a good team.