BALTIMORE — With their inept offense, the New York Jets proved to be just the opponent that the struggling Baltimore Ravens needed to see.
Dominant on defense, opportunistic on offense and perfect in the kicking game, the Ravens blasted the overmatched Jets, 19-3, in front of an announced 71,148 at cold and windy M&T Bank Stadium.
Justin Tucker was 4 for 4 on field goal attempts to give the Ravens an early lead, and Joe Flacco hit Jacoby Jones on a 66-yard touchdown catch late in the third quarter to all but put the game away. The Ravens’ defense was a constant throughout, forcing three turnovers, sacking mistake-prone quarterback Geno Smith three times and holding the Jets to 220 total yards.
With the victory — just their second in the past six games — the Ravens improved to 5-6 and moved into a six-way tie for the AFC’s second wild-card spot. They’ve beaten the Jets (5-6) eight consecutive times.
“We finally got our game together in all three phases,” Jones said.
After trailing, 3-0, the Ravens scored the final 19 points, relying largely on their defense that made life miserable for Smith. The Jets had only 12 first downs. Smith was 9 for 22 for 127 yards and he was intercepted twice, both times by Corey Graham.
“We always want to be the best defense on the field, that’s just how it is, regardless of who we’re playing,” Graham said. “We knew they’ve got a pretty good front seven, and they play good ball, but when it came down to it, we wanted to be a dominant defense, and that’s what we were able to do today. “
Flacco was hardly at his best, completing 17 of 26 passes for 273 yards, one interception and one touchdown. However, his 66-yard touchdown to Jones was a thing of beauty as he hit his wide receiver in stride over the head of Ed Reed and two other Jets defensive backs.
The Ravens dominated the Jets in almost every way in the first half, but they went into the locker room leading just 9-3. An interception by Flacco after the Ravens had the ball on the Jets’ 17-yard line, and an 0-for-4 performance in the red zone helped New York stay in the game despite getting outgained 212 yards to 73 yards in the first half.
Smith was 2 of 7 for 21 yards in the first half. The Jets had just one extended drive in the first half, their second one of the game. They went 55 yards on nine plays, relying mostly on wildcat plays and misdirection. On one play, wide receiver Joshua Cribbs, a quarterback in college, took the direct snap and threw the ball to Smith, who gained 13 yards.
The Jets got all the way down to the Ravens’ 8-yard line before they settled for a 27-yard field goal by Nick Folk and a 3-0 lead.
The Ravens immediately answered with a field goal. Using backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor to provide a different look, the Ravens went 63 yards and they should have had the go-ahead touchdown. However, Reed, who was playing his second game with the Jets, separated Jones from the ball in the end zone. Tucker’s 30-yard field goal tied the game.
On their next drive, the Ravens drove all the way down to the Jets’ 8, thanks largely to a 60-yard pass from Flacco to Torrey Smith. But again, they couldn’t finish the drive, and Tucker converted a field goal — this time from 26 yards.
The two teams then traded turnovers before the Ravens got the ball at their own 40. Catches by tight end Ed Dickson for 27 and 13 yards put them in field goal range and Tucker then converted from 33 yards to make it 9-3.
Tucker’s fourth kick from 53 yards extended the lead to 12-3 before Jones scored the only touchdown of the game.
— Baltimore Sun