When Joe Flacco slapped his hands together as he trotted off the field, he wasn't clapping. He was angry about throwing an interception in the end zone with the Baltimore Ravens trailing by 10 points.
"There was just a little miscue on that pick," Flacco said.
No big deal, as it turned out. On their next two possessions, the Ravens mounted touchdown drives of 97 and 75 yards, then added the clinching score after a favorable replay reversal to beat the Miami Dolphins 28-13 Sunday.
The victory gave Baltimore (8-5) a lead over Miami (7-6) in the AFC race for a wild-card playoff berth. The Ravens also tightened the race for the AFC North title, helped by a loss by first-place Cincinnati (8-4-1) to Pittsburgh.
The Dolphins, who haven't been to the postseason since 2008, are now a long shot with three games to go.
Here are things to know in the wake of a pivotal game for playoff positioning:
ANGRY DOLPHINS: While the Ravens whooped it up in the closing minutes, Dolphins defensive tackle Jared Odrick was also screaming. He angrily yelled at coach Joe Philbin along the sideline after a long Ravens gain.
"Emotions were running high," Odrick said. "I probably should have calmed down a little earlier."
Said Philbin: "Football's an emotional game. We had a discussion. I've already had another discussion with him. Football gets fiery out there. It's good."
But the Dolphins showed little fire in the final three quarters, when they were outgained 425-161.
RISKY BUSINESS: A gamble by coach John Harbaugh in the third quarter gave the Ravens' comeback momentum. They went for a first down on fourth-and-1 at their 34 in the third quarter, and Joe Flacco gained 2 yards on a quarterback sneak.
"We've got an offensive line that can do something like that," Harbaugh said. "We had decided if we got close there, we were going to go for it."
"I love it," Flacco said. "The confidence that he had in us to stay on the field at that point was huge."
Flacco went on to hit Kamar Aiken with a 13-yard pass for the score and the lead.
SACK RECORD: Elvis Dumervil led Baltimore's defensive charge with 3 1/2 sacks, increasing his season total to a franchise-record 16. Miami's Ryan Tannehill threw for 227 yards and a score, but was sacked six times.
Baltimore allowed the Dolphins only 249 yards.
"We settled down and started grasping how they were trying to play us," Dumervil said. "We started making plays."
TAKING A TOLL: The injury list was long on both sides.
Ravens cornerback Anthony Levine left the game in the first quarter with concussion and didn't return. Cornerback Danny Gorrer left the game with a knee injury in the second half and didn't return.
Baltimore receiver Torrey Smith was active despite a sore knee but was clearly limited and didn't catch a pass.
Dolphins safety Louis Delmas was carted off the field in the fourth quarter with a right knee injury. Linebacker Jelani Jenkins left the game in the third quarter with a foot injury and didn't return. Center Samson Satele left the game with an undisclosed injury in the fourth quarter.
PLAYOFF PROSPECTS: The Ravens plays at home Sunday against Jacksonville, then travel to Houston before finishing at home against Cleveland.
"Our fate is in our hands," linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "If we win, we're in. That's the mentality we'll have down the stretch."
The Dolphins play at AFC East leader New England on Sunday, then finish with home games against Minnesota and the New York Jets. Even a sweep might not be enough to make the playoffs.
"We're definitely in catch-up mode now," Jenkins said. "We're not sitting as pretty as it looked coming in."
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