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Ravens demolish Dolphins to claim No. 1 seed in AFC playoffs

The Baltimore Ravens made quite the statement on Sunday, as they clinched the No.1 seed in the AFC playoffs with a blowout 56-19 win over the No. 2-seeded Miami Dolphins. 

Lamar Jackson, aiming for his second career MVP award this season, added to his stellar resume with another highly efficient game on offense. 

Jackson finished with 321 yards through the air on just 18-of-21 with five touchdown passes and 35 yards on six rushes. And it got to the point where his backup, Tyler Huntley, completed a 19-yard touchdown pass in garbage fourth-quarter time.

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Lamar Jackson looks to pass

Lamar Jackson of the Ravens carries the ball against the Miami Dolphins at M&T Bank Stadium on Dec. 31, 2023, in Baltimore. (Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)

It happened immediately for Jackson and the Ravens’ offense on its first drive of the game, as Justice Hill, his second running back, made two big catches on the drive, including the 20-yard wheel route for the touchdown. It was a 7-7 game as the Dolphins saw Cedrick Wilson Jr. hauling in an eight-yard strike from Tua Tagovailoa to start the game. 

In the second quarter, Jackson started seeing some unreal catches by his receivers, including Odell Beckham Jr., who hauled in a 33-yard bomb down the right sideline to set up a Gus Edwards one-yard touchdown to make it a 14-10 game. 

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The Dolphins would grab a field goal on the ensuing drive to cut the Ravens’ lead, but Jackson wasted no time with a response. On the very next play, Zay Flowers broke free from coverage and took a pass from Jackson 75 yards to the house to make it 21-13. 

Things started falling off the rails for the Dolphins when Tagovailoa threw the first of his two interceptions on the day on a pass intended for Wilson, where Roquan Smith sniped it out of the air. Four plays later, Isaiah Likely made a phenomenal one-handed catch on fourth-and-7 and dove into the end zone for a 35-yard touchdown. 

Isaiah Likely dives into end zone

Isaiah Likely of the Ravens carries the ball for a touchdown against DeShon Elliott of the Miami Dolphins on Dec. 31, 2023, in Baltimore. (Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)

With a 28-13 lead entering the second half, the Ravens knew the Dolphins’ offense was more than capable of tying things up quickly. They got the ball out of the break, and Hill took the opening kickoff 78 yards to begin the drive on Miami’s 18-yard line. A few plays later, it was Likely hauling in his second touchdown of the day from seven yards out. 

The Dolphins would get a touchdown to De’Von Achane later in the half, but the game was virtually out of reach at that point when it was 35-19 in the fourth quarter. Miami had a turnover on downs and a fumble, which saw three straight Baltimore touchdowns hit the scoreboard. 

Looking at the stat sheet, Edwards led the Ravens’ rushing attack with 68 yards on 16 carries, while Flowers had 106 receiving on just three catches to lead that category. Charlie Kolar and Patrick Ricard also added touchdowns to their stats for the year. 

For Miami, Tyreek Hill had six catches for 76 yards to lead the way, but he also had an uncharacteristic drop in the end zone early in the game that led to a Miami field goal instead. In the end, it didn’t really matter for the Dolphins.

Zay Flowers heads into end zone

Zay Flowers of the Ravens carries the ball for a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins at M&T Bank Stadium on Dec. 31, 2023, in Baltimore. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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Tagovailoa was 22-of-38 for 237 yards with two touchdowns and his two interceptions, while Achane had 107 yards on the ground on 14 carries. 

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