Flacco says mis­takes ‘gave the game away’

Jets get three take­aways, match­ing their to­tal in first six games of the sea­son

Baltimore Sun - - RAVENS INSIDER - By Ed­ward Lee ed­ward.lee@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/Ed­wardLeeSun

EAST RUTHER­FORD, N.J. — En­ter­ing Sun­day’s game, the New York Jets ranked last in the NFL in take­aways. On Sun­day, the Ravens did what they could to help lift New York from the cel­lar.

In one game, the Jets matched their sea­son to­tal of three take­aways with two in­ter­cep­tions and one fum­ble re­cov­ery in their 24-16 vic­tory over the Ravens at MetLife Sta­dium. And each Ravens turnover proved con­se­quen­tial.

Per­haps the most egre­gious mis­cue was de­fen­sive tackle Timmy Jerni­gan’s fum­ble in­side the Ravens 5-yard line af­ter he had re­cov­ered a fum­ble by New York run­ning back Matt Forte late in the third quar­ter.

With the Jets at the 6 on sec­ond-and­goal and threat­en­ing to add to a 17-16 lead, Forte gained 3 yards be­fore hav­ing the ball stripped by de­fen­sive end Lawrence Guy. Jerni­gan picked up the ball at the 3 and ran out­side with it be­fore it was ripped loose by wide re­ceiver Bran­don Mar­shall, who re­cov­ered the fum­ble at the 5.

Three plays later, Forte ran into the end zone on a 1-yard dive to give New York a 24-16 ad­van­tage it would not re­lin­quish.

Jerni­gan, who fin­ished with four tack­les, one sack and two quar­ter­back hits, owned up to the mis­take, say­ing he was try­ing to make a play.

“That’s all I’m try­ing to do, sim­ple as that,” he said. “If you make the play, I don’t get stripped and I’m up the side­line for 20 yards, and peo­ple are like, ‘Oh, my God, he made a great play.’ You get stripped, and they get the ball back. It’s kind of one of those sit­u­a­tions. But the one thing about it, I would never do some­thing to glo­rify my­self. Ev­ery­thing I’ve ever done was to help the team, and that’s just what it is. If you take it dif­fer­ently, you just take it dif­fer­ently. It is what it is.”

The sud­den change in for­tune evoked a sim­i­lar de­fen­sive gaffe in the Ravens’ 16-10 loss to the Wash­ing­ton Red­skins on Oct. 9. In that game, in­side line­backer C.J. Mosley in­ter­cepted quar­ter­back Kirk Cousins’ pass but lost con­trol of the ball be­fore he crossed the goal line. The ball rolled out of the end zone and gave pos­ses­sion back to Wash­ing­ton, which took ad­van­tage by kick­ing a field goal for the fi­nal score.

Had Jerni­gan held on to the ball Sun­day, the Jets would have led by just one, and the Ravens would have needed only a field goal to end a three-game slide.

“It was a huge play in the game, and ob­vi­ously, it was a dif­fer­ence in the game,” coach John Har­baugh said. “Those are the kinds of things that are cost­ing us games, and those are the kinds of things that have to stop.”

Jerni­gan was not the only player whose mis­cue con­trib­uted to the team’s fourth straight loss. On back-to-back snaps mid­way through the sec­ond quar­ter, rookie left tackle Alex Lewis was flagged for a false start and a hold. The hold­ing penalty was es­pe­cially dam­ag­ing, as it wiped out a 42-yard run by run­ning back Ter­rance West (Tow­son Univer­sity, North­west­ern High) that would have put the Ravens at New York’s 4.

“Worst time,” said West, who fin­ished with just 10 yards on eight car­ries. “That’s what’s been killing us all year. That was huge. That could have changed the game right there.”

Quar­ter­back Joe Flacco’s two in­ter­cep­tions cost the Ravens their lead. The Jets turned cor­ner­back Buster Skrine’s in­ter­cep­tion into a 22-yard field goal by Nick Folk for a 17-16 ad­van­tage, and free safety Mar­cus Gilchrist’s pick pre­ceded the two-fum­ble play that gave New York com­mand of the game.

“Mis­takes are frus­trat­ing, and they hurt be­cause ob­vi­ously, we gave the game away there,” Flacco said. “But the more frus­trat­ing thing is just the fact that we can’t con­sis­tently do things well. If we were out there and we were play­ing re­ally good foot­ball, we would prob­a­bly be able to live with a mis­take here and a mis­take there.”

The Ravens’ mis­takes were the Jets’ gains. New York halted a four-game los­ing streak and breathed life into what ap­peared to be a sea­son slip­ping from its grasp.

“We have to en­joy this win,” Mar­shall said. “It’s hard to win in the Na­tional Foot­ball League, no mat­ter who you are or where you are at. We’re go­ing to en­joy it and move for­ward.”

If there was one con­so­la­tion from the loss, it was the les­son Jerni­gan said he’s learned.

“From now on, I don’t care if I have 100 yards in front of me with no one in front of me, I’ll fall on the ball just to make ev­ery­body happy,” he said. “Ev­ery­body stays hap­pier.”

KARL MER­TON FER­RON/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

Ravens de­fen­sive tackle Timmy Jerni­gan (99) loses the ball af­ter try­ing to run with a re­cov­ered fum­ble in the third quar­ter. The Jets scored a touch­down three plays later.

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