I'll be checking in throughout the game, giving my thoughts on the action.
I'm going along with the trend for this game... picking the Ravens. The pick makes me sad, because I kind of like the Dolphins (or at least loathe them slightly less than their Maryland counterparts), but I think that the Ravens' defense is just too good for the Dolphins to have any kind of success against them.
The game's first turnover... one of the commentators noted that the Dolphins' strategy "paid off" with the fumble. Nothing paid off! Fumbles, so far as I can tell, are the result either of chance or of extraordinary individual effort (a Lawrence Taylor strip). This one looked a lot like chance to me.
Sometimes I wonder why more NFL teams don't run crossing patterns. Both of the Dolphins' big offensive plays thus far have been crossing patterns run by Patrick Cobbs.
The ball is on the one yard line. And the Dolphins are going to kick the field goal?! To quote Darth Vader: NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Miami has just said, loud and clear, that it doesn't trust its offensive line to get even one yard. 3-0, Miami.
Commercial break, then kickoff and return, then commercial break. Nice.
"You can lower your shoulders and run full speed... that's when you know you're really good." Erm... I'm sure it also helps to be 6'3", 250 pounds, absolutely jacked, and faster than any human being has a right to be.
3-3, now, after a Stover field goal. It's looking like a fun, competitive game.
...and we've had our first Haruki Nakamura sighting of the day! The Ravens seem to be collecting really good college safeties who were thought to be too slow to make it in the NFL (Tom Zbikowski returned the opening kickoff).
So they've shown six car commercials thus far. That's one car commercial every seven minutes. And every one of those six commercials has focused on gas mileage.
I'm liking the Ravens' strategy so far. They're not trying to do anything too complicated, just running the ball up the middle and throwing simple passes.
We've just had our first Madden Moment... that is, an incident in which the announcers get so wrapped up in whatever conversation they're having that they completely miss what's happening on the field (in this case, a near-punt-block by the Dolphins). Also, there's been another car commercial (that is, another gas-mileage-focused car commercial).
3rd and 1? RUN IT UP THE MIDDLE! And the Dolphins did, and they got a first down out of it.
Well... THAT was effective. 3rd and 6, bring in a quarterback who's fast but doesn't have a great arm. Gonna run it? Maybe? Yup. Gonna get stuffed? Yup.
Why, why, why do you punt... on 4th and 2... from your opponent's 38?
You throw a lob pass... to a short guy... in double coverage... and this is what happens. Reed with the touchdown on the interception return. 10-3, Ravens.
...and Miami's gone into a prevent defense. Nice. Someone said once that the only thing a prevent defense does is prevent you from getting a stop. Baltimore has the ball on the 17 yard line, pending a review.
Halftime! 13-3, Ravens, thanks to a couple of really boneheaded moves (the interception and the prevent defense) by the Dolphiins... but it has been a fun game so far.
I'll be back for the second half in a bit! That half will be in a new post, though, because this one is getting ridiculously long.