The Miami Dolphins have been living a dream the past six weeks with a win streak that bordered on the best in team history. But on Sunday the alarm clock sounded.
The dream is over.
The six-game win streak is over.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
This one was every bit the thrashing the score suggests. At no time did this game seem competitive.
The Ravens scored on their first drive. And on their second drive. And led 24-0 at halftime. And they kept pouring it on in the fourth quarter even after Joe Flacco was pulled (as a mercy move) and backup Ryan Mallet was in the game.
The Dolphins got beat at the line of scrimmage on both offense and defense, where Flacco was not sacked. The Dolphins got beat on special teams, where Baltimore's Justin Tucker connected on a 55-yard field goal and Miami's Andrew Franks missed on a 46-yarder.
The Dolphins seemed to be out-coached. It's as if the game plan never accounted for tight end Dennis Pitta, who caught his first TD in nearly three years. And then caught his second. And was open all day.
On offense the Dolphins had some moments by Jay Ajayi who broke tackles as he always does. But outside of bubble screens and with Tannehill misfiring, the unit had nothing.
Tannehill, by the way, regressed on Sunday. He’s been playing well the past six weeks, throwing nine TDs and one interception. He threw three interceptions this game. Terrible.
This had to happen eventually. You didn’t think this team was simply going to be undefeated the rest of the season, did you?
Not with Kiko Alonso unable to chase down offensive players because of a hamstring injury. Not with cornerback Tony Lippett giving up slant completions this day as he had the first month of the season.
Not with Tannehill playing much the same way he did in 2015 rather than the past six weeks.
Maybe we should have guessed this was possible. The Dolphins went down to the wire the past four games and needed heroics to pull each of those games out.
There were no heroics Sunday.
This day was a lost opportunity. It was a chance for the Dolphins to solidify a playoff spot and show they belong among the contenders for a postseason spot this year.
This game was a chance to make you and the rest of the NFL believe these Dolphins are not going to go away.
And we can't really know where the Dolphins go from here.