MIAMI -- Dan Marino should be proud.
The 2000 Dolphins made sure nothing would ruin the stunning Sunday night halftime ceremony to honor their retired quarterback, posting a 19-6 victory over the Baltimore Ravens in front of 73,464 rain-soaked fans at Pro Player Stadium.
The victory kept the Dolphins (2-1) from falling two games behind the New York Jets (3-0) in the AFC East standings while also knocking Baltimore (2-1) from the ranks of the undefeated. It also provided a much-needed dose of confidence to a Dolphins offense reeling from a 13-7 loss last Sunday at Minnesota.
Although his performance didn't remind anyone of Marino in his heyday, Jay Fiedler had his moments while completing 11-of-16 passes for 160 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The play of Dolphins running backs Lamar Smith (110 yards of total offense, two touchdowns) and Thurman Thomas (three receptions, 31 yards) also helped keep the Ravens from using the same blitz-happy approach Minnesota successfully deployed.
Conversely, the Dolphins' defense harried Ravens quarterback Tony Banks throughout his 19-of-31 outing with six sacks and one interception.
And Marino was there to witness it all, staying to watch an entire Dolphins game in person for the first time since his retirement.
"This was an important game for us, for our local fans and our ex-players and Coach (Don) Shula being back (for Marino's ceremony)," Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt said. "As important, this was an opportunity to show the nation we've got a good team."
Fiedler was especially crafty on a three-play sequence that put the Dolphins into the end zone on the opening series of the third quarter.
On third-and-3 from the Dolphins 46, wide receiver Leslie Shepherd caught a Fiedler pass for a 19-yard gain. Fiedler scrambled away from pressure on the next play before flicking a screen pass to Smith, who rambled for 28 yards.
Fiedler then turned into a blocker when Smith took a pitch and quickly reversed his field to the left. Fiedler ran ahead to get in the way of Baltimore middle linebacker Ray Lewis, causing enough interference to help Smith score on a 7-yard run that extended the Dolphins' lead to 13-0.
Wannstedt praised Fiedler, who was coming off a 12-of-31 performance against Minnesota.
"Talk about pressure," Wannstedt said. "I know his efficiency was awful good. He protected the ball and did not make any bad decisions. If he can do that, we have a chance."
Baltimore countered with its most effective drive of the evening, for rookie tailback Jamal Lewis (three carries, 20 yards) and tight end Shannon Sharpe (two catches, 29 yards) helped move the Ravens inside the Dolphins 1. The Dolphins were able to hold Baltimore to a 27-yard Matt Stover field goal with strong safety Brian Walker and defensive end Jason Taylor sacking Banks on two of the next three plays.
"The defensive line did a good job putting the pressure on," Taylor said. "The secondary gave us a lot of time to get there."
Settling for three points would haunt the Ravens, for Fiedler led the Dolphins to another touchdown on a possession eerily similar to their previous one.
Fiedler followed a key third-down completion to Thomas with a 41-yard pass to tight end Jed Weaver, moving the Dolphins to Baltimore's 11. Fiedler -- who then blocked again on a Smith run -- capped the 80-yard drive with a 9-yard scoring pass to his starting tailback with 13:15 left.
Four minutes later, the Ravens cut the score to 19-6 with a 33-yard Stover field goal.