BALTIMORE — John Harbaugh had been waiting the entire season for the Baltimore Ravens to put it all together in one memorable, outstanding performance.
His patience was rewarded Sunday.
The Ravens combined a record-setting passing day by Joe Flacco with a rugged defensive effort in a 38-6 rout of the Miami Dolphins.
“It was just a heck of a team victory,” Harbaugh said. “It’s something that’s been in our minds, our vision of how we played today as a team. It’s what we’re working for, and it’s nice to see it happen.”
Flacco threw for 381 yards and four touchdowns, and the Ravens (7-5) made it apparent early that Miami’s six-game winning streak would not make it to seven.
Baltimore built a 24-0 halftime lead behind the league’s second-ranked defense and Flacco, who went 27 for 34 for 258 yards and three scores.
That was enough to provide the Ravens with their fourth win in five games and at least a share of first place in the AFC North.
Flacco finished with a franchise-record 36 completions in 47 attempts, by far his most impressive outing in an uneven season. He entered with 11 TD passes and 10 interceptions.
“It feels good to throw four touchdown passes,” Flacco said, “but at the end of the day, what does it really matter? As long as we win, that’s what matters.”
Miami (7-5) didn’t score until Ryan Tannehill threw a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter following a fumble recovery that started the drive at the Baltimore 8.
That made it 24-6, and Flacco answered with a 53-yard touchdown pass to Breshad Perriman with 12:49 left.
Two of Flacco’s TD passes went to tight end Dennis Pitta, who’s enjoying a fine season in his return from a second hip surgery. Pitta had nine catches for 90 yards and leads Baltimore with 61 receptions, but he hadn’t reached the end zone since December 2013.
Tannehill went 29 for 40 for 226 yards and three interceptions. He was picked off only once during Miami’s six-game streak.
The Ravens scored a touchdown on their first possession for the second week in a row, moving 75 yards before Flacco connected with Terrance West for a 3-yard score.
Unlike last week, when Baltimore managed just one TD in a win over Cincinnati, the Ravens immediately built on their early advantage. Following a missed field goal by the Dolphins, Flacco deftly took Baltimore downfield before throwing a 13-yard touchdown pass to Pitta.
The drive was extended by Kenneth Dixon’s 10-yard run on a fourth-and-1.
Flacco capped an 18-play drive in the second quarter with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Pitta. The methodical march took up 8 minutes, 57 seconds.
Dolphins: “This was not one of our best performances,” coach Adam Gase said. “You can’t waste opportunities early in the game, especially on offense. We had nothing that really jump-started us. We just couldn’t make any plays.”
Ravens: “I thought Joe just played phenomenally well,” Harbaugh said. “Joe and the offensive line got the game balls in the locker room. I thought (Flacco’s) vision was phenomenal. He moved around and made plays on the run, guys made catch-and-run plays. It looked like we wanted it to look.”
NOWHERE TO RUN
Dolphins: Miami was limited to 62 yards rushing, its lowest output since gaining 51 in a loss to Tennessee on Oct. 9 — its last loss. Jay Ajayi was held to 61 yards on 12 carries.
Ravens: The Ravens split the handoffs. Dixon gained 56 yards on six attempts and West had 10 carries for 50 yards, including a 9-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.
Ravens kicker Justin Tucker connected on a 55-yard field goal to end the first half. He’s 28 for 28 this season, with eight FGs of at least 50 yards. He’s also hit 35 in a row over two seasons.
Gase used a timeout an instant before Tucker banged his field goal try through the uprights. After the timeout, Tucker duplicated the feat.
Dolphins: LB Kiko Alonso (hand) missed part of the first half. … CB Tony Lippett was evaluated for a concussion and cleared in second quarter.
Ravens: CB Tavon Young (shoulder) left in the second quarter but returned after halftime.
Dolphins: Miami hosts Arizona next Sunday. The Dolphins have won three straight in the series after losing the first eight.
Ravens: A Monday night game in New England looms for the Ravens, 1-7 against the Patriots in the regular season. Harbaugh called it “our toughest challenge of the year.”