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Baltimore left feeling empty in end

The Ravens did their part to get into the playoffs.

It wasn't enough.

After beating the Dolphins 30-23 Sunday, the Ravens had to wait until the late afternoon games ended to learn their postseason fate.

Baltimore's win, combined with Buffalo's loss to Pittsburgh, kept the Ravens alive until the afternoon games, but Denver won 33-14 to clinch the final AFC wild-card spot and end Baltimore's season.

Losses to Cleveland, Kansas City and Cincinnati put the Ravens in a situation where they had to depend on others to reach the postseason.

"If there is anybody to blame for the situation, it's definitely us," Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs said of the season.

Playing against a downtrodden team forced to start third-string quarterback Sage Rosenfels, Baltimore built a 27-7 lead, then allowed the Dolphins to close to 27-21.

Baltimore's Jarret Johnson returned an interception for a score, but the Ravens' defense, playing without injured linebacker Ray Lewis (broken wrist), was burned for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage and later yielded a 90-yard drive.

Lewis was inactive; he was hurt two weeks ago against Indianapolis, then played against Pittsburgh Dec. 26 but broke his wrist again.

The Dolphins went 3-4 under interim coach Jim Bates. Nick Saban has been hired to coach the team next season.

"When I took over eight weeks ago we were 1-8 and it was a tough situation," Bates said. "For the last seven football games, we've been in every one. Today we were down 27-7 _ 20 points _ and there's no quit in the football team."

Miami used a 95-yard kickoff return by Wes Welker _ the Dolphins' first for a score since 1989 _ and a 35-yard touchdown run by Sammy Morris to get to 27-21.

It was 30-21 when Travis Minor appeared to score for Miami, but officials ruled he came up short and Anthony Weaver ended the drive with an interception.

Starting for injured A.J. Feeley (ribs), Rosenfels went 16-for-38 for 264 yards and three interceptions.

For finishing 4-12, their worst season since 1969, the Dolphins will pick third in the April draft.