Cutler debuts, but Ravens roll past Dolphins 31-7
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Jay Cutler ran onto the field with the Miami Dolphins for the first time, and the fans greeted their new quarterback with a loud ovation.
They didn't have much else to cheer about over the next three hours.
Ryan Mallett threw for 113 yards and a touchdown, Josh Woodrum ran for two more scores and the Baltimore Ravens beat the Dolphins 31-7 on Thursday night in the second preseason game for both teams.
Cutler played the first two series for the Dolphins, his debut as injured starter Ryan Tannehill's replacement in Miami. He was 3 of 6 for 24 yards, some of it in a no-huddle tempo, and his highlight play was one that didn't count. Facing a third-and-16, Cutler stepped up and found DeVante Parker for what would have been a 31-yard gain — one erased by a holding flag.
"He was good. We kind of got the tempo going and got comfortable," Dolphins coach Adam Gase said. "He had a couple really nice moves in the pocket, pushing up and making a couple guys miss. We had penalties on the play, so it was negated, but he felt good."
Cutler took a big hit on his last snap, courtesy of the Ravens' Za'Darius Smith. He got up without any problem, then switched his helmet for a baseball cap and headset.
"He's having fun," Gase said.
Ravens starting quarterback Joe Flacco isn't expected to play until Week 1 of the regular season because of back woes, and Mallett played the entire first half.
Mallett completed 13 of 22 passes, getting intercepted twice — both on passes intended for Quincy Adeboyejo. The first pick was by Xavier Howard on a ball lofted down the left sideline and overthrow, the other coming when Cordrea Tankersley ripped the ball out of Adeboyejo's hands after he had to reach back to make a catch on a quick slant.
Woodrum completed eight of 10 passes for 110 yards.
The Dolphins' storyline coming into Thursday was all about Cutler, and his first game action with Miami. For as much hubbub as there was for that, there likely was as much concern about special teams when the night ended.
Senorise Perry had an 11-yard touchdown run for Miami, but he also fumbled away a kickoff return — one of many Miami special-teams miscues. The Dolphins also had a punt blocked in the second quarter, setting up Mallett's 1-yard touchdown toss to Larry Donnell, and later had a hold on a kickoff return.
Gase said Miami had 10 men on the field for the blocked punt.
"It's one of those unforced errors we can't have happen," Gase said.
Ravens kicker Justin Tucker is automatic from 50 yards or more.
Tucker connected on a 52-yarder for the Ravens' first points of the night. He also made a 59-yarder in Baltimore's preseason-opening win over Washington, and was 10 for 10 on tries from 50 yards or more last season.
Tucker also recovered a fumble on a misplayed kickoff return, one of Miami's many special-teams issues.
Dolphins backup Matt Moore, like Cutler, was also done for the night by the time the first quarter was over. He completed 3 of 5 passes for 11 yards, before getting relieved by David Fales. Brandon Doughty came in for Miami in the second half.
Baltimore's third quarterback, Thaddeus Lewis, was enjoying a homecoming. He played his high school ball at nearby Hialeah-Miami Lakes High.
Dolphins offensive lineman Sam Young was flagged for holding on consecutive plays in the first quarter, including one that wiped out the Cutler-to-Parker play for 31 yards.
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The Ravens and Dolphins last met in December, with Baltimore winning that matchup 38-6. Baltimore is 25-9 in its last 34 preseason games.
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