Ravens squander another early lead in loss to Jets
Baltimore shut out in second half
— For the second week in a row, the Baltimore Ravens jumped out to an early 10-0 lead at MetLife Stadium.
And for a consecutive week, the Ravens let that lead slip.
Baltimore was held scoreless after halftime and fell to the host New York Jets, 24-16,
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.
for its fourth-straight loss.
“Killer instinct is executing when you get ahead, putting people away and making plays, taking advantage of the fact that their down,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “Whatever killer instinct translates to, we certainly don’t have it right now.”
Defensive tackle Brandon Williams blocked a New York field goal attempt with 3:04 to play to keep the Ravens’ deficit to a single score. Baltimore took over at its own 30-yard line and picked up a pair first downs, but quarterback Joe Flacco’s fourth-down pass attempt to Chris Moore was broken up and fell to the turf with 1:02 left on the clock.
Justin Tucker’s third successful field goal of the first half gave Baltimore a 16-14 as the second quarter expired. The Jets reclaimed the lead for good on a Nick Folk field goal with 5:07 left in the third quarter that was set up by Flacco’s first interception. New York cornerback Buster Skrine picked the pass off in Jets’ territory and returned it 51 yards to the Ravens 3-yard line.
Flacco threw another interception on the third play of the following possession. New York marched down to the Baltimore 4-yard line before losing and regaining possession in one of the whackiest plays of the season.
Jets running back Matt Forté was stripped by Lawrence Guy. Defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan recovered the loose ball, but also fumbled during his attempt at a return. New York wide receiver Brandon Marshall recovered the play’s second fumble.
Because possession had switched momentarily, the Jets were awarded a firstand-goal from the Baltimore 5-yard line.
“When you see 21 other players just standing around and there’s a ball in front of you, you try to make the play,” Jernigan said. “But at the end of the day, if Coach says the best thing for me to do was to fall on the ball, I should’ve fell on the ball. From now on, I’m going to fall on the ball.”
Forté burst through for a 1-yard rushing touchdown three plays later, bringing the score to its 24-16 final with one minute left in the third quarter.
Baltimore’s offense failed to find the end zone all afternoon and its offense gained only 28 total yards after halftime.
“We didn’t move the ball. Obviously, we turned the ball over two times. The turnovers hurt, but we didn’t do anything. We just didn’t do anything,” Flacco said of the second half. “We never really got to the point where we were threatening to score touchdowns.”
The Ravens gained just six yards rushing, the lowest total in franchise history.
“They stopped the run. They
stuffed us,” Harbaugh said. “They’re pretty darn good with the run defense. We tried to stick to the run a little bit, until the end when we were down by eight and trying to get down there to score to tie it up.”
Moore scored the Ravens’ lone touchdown less than six minutes into the contest. New York punter Lachlan Edwards fumbled the snap after his team’s first offensive possession stalled out. Moore hit Edwards as he tried to collect the loose ball then jumped on it himself in the end zone for his first career touchdown.
Tucker nailed a 50-yard field
goal five minutes later to extend the lead to 10-0. He made all three of his attempts – from 50, 49 and 44 yards, respectively – to remain perfect on the season.
Geno Smith started his first game of the season at quarterback for the Jets and completed four of eight passes for 95 yards. He threw a 69-yard touchdown pass late in the opening quarter, in which he hit Quincy Enunwa short and the wide receiver beat the entire Ravens defense downfield.
Rookie linebacker Matthew Judon sacked Smith to force a punt on the next New York pos-
session, injuring the quarterback’s knee on the play. Ryan Fitzpatrick – who was benched in favor of Smith following the Jets’ lopsided loss to the Arizona Cardinals Monday night – led New York on a 13-play, 85-yard scoring drive the next series culminating with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Forté. Fitzpatrick completed nine of 13 passes for 120 yards passing.
Flacco threw for 248 yards, completing 25 of 44 attempts. Mike Wallace led Baltimore’s receivers with 10 catches for 120 yards.
Flacco missed practice Wednesday and Thursday with a right shoulder injury before returning
Friday. He said his shoulder did not bother him throughout the game.
Baltimore entered with the NFL’s top-ranked run defense, allowing 69.7 yards rushing per game, but surrendered 100 yards to Forté and 155 total to the Jets.
“They did what they needed to do to win the game,” Harbaugh said. “They came up with the big plays in the second half and that made the difference. We just didn’t. We didn’t play winning football.”
Follow Sean Grogan on Twitter: @Sean_CecilWhig