Matt Moore flops in chance to be Dolphins' long-term starter

BALTIMORE -- Miami Dolphins backup quarterback Matt Moore waited seven years for this opportunity.

Moore started games for the Dolphins in the past -- including three last season -- but Thursday’s start in prime time against the Baltimore Ravens was different for the career backup. This was more of an audition, Moore’s chance to potentially be the guy for Miami the remainder of the season.

But Moore blew his shot in a 40-0 shutout loss to the Ravens. He threw for 176 yards and two pick-sixes that were returned for 63- and 50-yard touchdowns. As a result, the job will be Jay Cutler's as soon as he returns from multiple broken ribs.

The Dolphins (4-3) have a 10-day break to rest and prepare for the Oakland Raiders. Cutler should be healthy enough to play and return to an offense that entered Thursday ranked in the NFL last in yards per game and 31st in points per game. Moore did not make the group any better.

"This is tough. We never expected the game to turn out like this," Moore said. "This one really stings. We have to figure some stuff out, and I have to figure out some stuff."

Many of the same issues that have plagued the Dolphins' offense all season didn't change with Moore under center. In addition to bad quarterback play, Miami could not get its running game going with Pro Bowler Jay Ajayi (13 carries, 23 yards), and Moore was sacked three times due to poor pass protection.

Miami was beaten soundly by Baltimore (4-4) in every phase.

In addition to the offense struggling, the Dolphins’ defense gave up 20 first-half points to Baltimore’s 31st-ranked offense. Kicker Cody Parkey, who entered the season 8-for-8, missed his first field goal of the season, and linebacker Kiko Alonso had a highly controversial hit to Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco's head. He left the game with a concussion. Alonso’s hit likely will lead to a fine and caused a skirmish involving multiple players on both teams.

"It was bang-bang," Alonso said. "He got to the point where I thought maybe if he slid a second sooner, I would've anticipated him sliding and not hit him. But I think he was a second late."

The Dolphins coaches have been adamant their offense has systematic issues and it was not on just one player. Thursday’s game proved them correct.

Miami enters the midpoint of the NFL season with one of the worst offenses in the NFL, regardless of whether Moore or Cutler is the quarterback. That is a major issue that could prove costly for the Dolphins in the second half of the season as they try to make a playoff push for the second consecutive year.