If this is the matchup we get in the AFC championship game, Ravens fans might as well book their tickets to Las Vegas. And, if last week’s matchup was a Super Bowl preview, start planning the parade.

All right, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. But it’s hard to be anything less than impressed by the Ravens’ 56-19 domination of the Dolphins on New Year’s Eve.

Here’s how each position group graded out.


Lamar Jackson’s performance against the 49ers vaulted him to the top of the MVP race, and his “quarterbacky” outing against the Dolphins gave him the inside track to the award with one game remaining. Jackson needed only 21 pass attempts – completing 18 of them – to rack up 321 yards and five touchdowns. Despite missing tight end Mark Andrews and running back Keaton Mitchell, Jackson has only gotten better as the season has progressed. With the AFC’s top seed secured, he can kick up his feet for the next two Sundays.

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Grade: A+

Running backs

If the Ravens hope to make a deep playoff run, they’ll need more performances like this from Justice Hill. The 2019 fourth-round pick hit a career high with 64 receiving yards on five catches, including a touchdown on the team’s opening drive, and chipped in 48 yards on the ground. Gus Edwards found the end zone as well, collecting 68 yards on 16 carries (4.3 average). Things were so out of hand by the end that even veteran Melvin Gordon received touches.

Grade: B+

Offensive line

Facing a Dolphins defense that came into the game second in the NFL in sacks (behind only the Ravens), Baltimore’s offensive line kept Jackson on his feet and away from pressure most of the game. Ben Cleveland, receiving the start in place of the injured Kevin Zeitler, held up well at guard, while tackle Ronnie Stanley held defensive end Bradley Chubb in check. Former Raven Zach Sieler notched the Dolphins’ only sack of the day.

Grade: B

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Pass catchers

When Jackon is in sync with his weapons, this offense is nearly impossible to stop. The Dolphins witnessed that firsthand, allowing the Ravens to average an absurd 14.4 yards per pass play. Thanks to a 75-yard bomb from Jackson, rookie Zay Flowers topped 100 receiving yards for the first time in his career. Odell Beckham Jr. and Isaiah Likely made impressive grabs. Even Rashod Bateman hauled in four catches for 54 yards, both season highs.

Grade: A

Defensive tackle Justin Madubuike celebrates his 13th sack of the season. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)

Defensive line

Tackle Justin Madubuike added to his ridiculous sack total by bringing down quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in the third quarter. Defensive end Odafe Oweh collected his first sack since Week 11. Michael Pierce plugged up the middle early, making three tackles, but left the game as he was evaluated for a head injury. Had it been a closer game, perhaps the Dolphins would have called more upon the services of running back De’Von Achane, who gained 107 rushing yards on just 14 carries.

Grade: B-

Inside linebackers

Roquan Smith has been one of the Ravens’ most important contributors in 2023, but he hasn’t had the flashy numbers to show for it. It was good to see the $100 million man grab his first interception of the season, undercutting a Tagovailoa pass in the second quarter and returning it 30 yards. As they did in last Monday’s game against the 49ers, Smith and his running mate Patrick Queen allowed some easy completions over the middle to Dolphins tight end Durham Smythe. But they limited a Miami offense that typically feasts on explosive plays.

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Grade: B+

Defensive backs

We were robbed of witnessing a top-tier battle between Dolphins star receiver Tyreek Hill and Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey, who left the game with a calf injury in the first half and never returned. It’s been a frustrating 2023 season for Humphrey, who has been in and out of the lineup with injuries. Still, Baltimore’s defensive backs impressed in the three-time Pro Bowler’s absence, holding Hill to 76 yards and Tagovailoa to 6.2 yards per play.

Grade: B+

Special teams

Justice Hill opened the second half with a bang, taking the Jason Sanders kickoff 78 yards to set up the Ravens on the Dolphins’ 18-yard line. Justin Tucker’s services were needed only for extra points, and he nailed all eight of them. Tylan Wallace returned just one punt for 6 yards.

Grade: A

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Defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald has (justifiably) received the most hype of anyone on the coaching staff this season. But his offensive counterpart, Todd Monken, has continued to impress. Scoring 56 points on a defense that came into the game fourth in the NFL in yards per game allowed is no easy feat.

Grade: A

Ravens’ jumbotron

Anybody else notice some weird outages? Hopefully things get tightened up by the divisional round.

Grade: D

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