On the day of a must-win for the Baltimore Ravens facing the New York Jets, and Jonathon Ogden returning to receive his Hall of Fame ring, the Ravens’ defense stood tall. The Ravens defended their home turf with an impressive .817 winning percentage at home in the Harbaugh era.
The Jets came into Baltimore having lost seven in a row against the Ravens. Well, the Jets are now just two games from losing 10 straight. The Jets’ back-and-forth season has ended, now having lost two in a row.
Due to being stuck in traffic, I was forced to miss the first half of the game.
Watching the numbers change on my phone, Justin Tucker was the MVP of the first half with three field goals. He had the only scoring in the first half for the Ravens.
Even without watching the first half, the defense stood tall holding the Jets to a single field goal and did not allow them access to the endzone once for a decisive 19-3 win.
When entering the second half, the defense showed no difference from the first half, holding the Jets scoreless. The Jets tried to go deep going against the wind, which allowed Cory Graham to intercept the ball (one of two interceptions on the day).
Though it seemed to be a hopeless throw by Jets’ quarterback Geno Smith, the Ravens would not allow this to be worthless. Four plays later, Flacco launches the ball deep to Jacoby Jones for the first and only touchdown of the day.
Flacco was throwing with the wind, but his deep ball was superb. Jones slowed down, which was barely noticeable to catch the ball. Flacco caught him in stride, allowing him to run past the defenders, including Ed Reed, to score the 66-yard touchdown.
The defense set the offense up to score, though there was still nothing the defense could do for the running game.
The Jet’s top running defense was unchanged, holding the Ravens as a team to less than 70 yards on the ground.
Ray Rice showed signs of improvement last week, but this week managed only 30 yards on 16 attempts. The offensive line did nothing to help Rice, giving him no holes to really push through. His longest run was only seven yards, and Bernard Pierce only had a long of 10 yards with 30 total on the day.
Tyrod Taylor had 17 rushing yards on one play, but that was because of a wildcat formation.
The wildcat was something the Ravens used a good bit against the Jets… something John Harbaugh has alluded to using more in order to get Taylor into games.
Flacco threw to three receivers for nine of his 17 completions, those being Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones, and Ed Dickson for the majority of his 273 yards passing. Jones had 103 of the 273 yards on just four receptions.
However, Flacco had nine different receivers catch the ball, eight of the nine gaining some sort of positive yardage. A good improvement by Flacco was not throwing it to Torrey Smith the entire game. Flacco has made a step toward using his arsenal to improve Smith’s play, who has already gone above his career high in receiving yards.
If Flacco can continue to spread the ball around, Smith will become more and more open with his speed.
Besides the run game still being inconsistent, the offense stalled several times in the red zone. One time was because of an interception, which Harbaugh said was because of miscommunication.
Flacco is still looking for that Dennis Pitta replacement for red zone trips, but he may not have to look any longer if Pitta can return in the next several weeks.
With only a couple offensive exceptions, the Ravens played an excellent game, with the defense shining brightly. This was a game the Ravens had to win, and they needed to do it against an inconsistent Jets team.
I watched a bit of the post-game with Jacoby Jones. The reporters asked Jones if he said anything to Ed Reed after the touchdown catch, but according to Jacoby Jones, he was too busy dancing to say anything.
The Ravens remain tied for second place in the AFC North with the Pittsburgh Steelers at 5-6. Both teams still look up at the Cincinnati Bengals who have their bye this week, and who sit at 7-4. The Ravens are still on the outside looking in on the playoff picture, with Pittsburgh holding the last wildcard spot.
The Ravens play the Steelers this Thursday — the late game on Thanksgiving. Like every game until the end of the season, this one is a must-win for the Ravens.
Tags: Baltimore Ravens