Ravens squan­der an­other early lead in loss to Jets

Bal­ti­more shut out in se­cond half

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By SEAN GROGAN

sgro­gan@ce­cil­whig.com

— 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

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