Cutler debuts, but Ravens roll past Dolphins 31-7
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Jay Cutler’s night started by getting an ovation from Miami Dolphins fans just for taking the field, and ended with him giving a shout-out to Mark Bowen.
That’s the surgeon who fixed his right shoulder after his season with the Chicago Bears ended last December.
Cutler’s shoulder is just fine, and that’s about all Miami had to cheer about. 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.
“Dr. Bowen in Chicago, nice job,” Cutler said, with a thumbs-up for emphasis.
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.
“Thought he was good,” said Dolphins coach Adam Gase, who also coached Cutler in Chicago. “First time out. Looks like we really weren’t apart for a year. His tempo was really 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.
“I was kind of glad to get that one out of the way,” Cutler 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.
“I thought he did good,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “He got out of trouble a few times. He made a few throws.”
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.
“I think I played better,” Mallett said. “There’s still plays to be made.”
Woodrum completed eight of 10 passes for 110 yards.
“He’s got some poise, he can play the game,” Harbaugh said.
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. But Tucker also tried to scoop-and-score the fumble recovery, drawing serious ire from Terrell Suggs and others on the Ravens sideline.
“Suggs was about to strangle him when he came off,” Harbaugh said.
Said Tucker: “Obviously, I’m better with my feet than my hands.”
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.