Ravens head coach John Harbaugh talks about the Ravens' loss to the Jets. (Karl Merton Ferron, Baltimore Sun video)
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The good news for the Ravens is they now have two weeks to get healthy and try to fix their myriad issues that have led to the first four-game losing streak in coach John Harbaugh's tenure. The bad news is there's been no indication that they are capable of such corrections, or that this once-promising season is even salvageable.
The Ravens buried themselves under a slew of second-half mistakes as two Joe Flacco interceptions and a fumble by defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan on the same play the defense had forced a fumble allowed the New York Jets to break a four-game losing streak and come away with a 24-16 victory this afternoon at MetLife Stadium.
All three turnovers came in a six-minute span of the third quarter as the Ravens (3-4) were shut out in the second half after building a 10-point first quarter lead, and a 16-14 halftime advantage.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who played despite a right shoulder injury, had a dreadful second half. He had gone a team-record 176 consecutive passing attempts without throwing an interception. He then threw two picks in a span of four offensive plays.
Jets cornerback Buster Skrine returned the first interception down to the Ravens' 3-yard line, setting up Nick Folk's go-ahead 22-yard field goal. Marcus Gilchrist then intercepted a lazy Flacco pass on the next drive, returning it down to the Ravens' 24.
The Ravens appeared to have forced a momentum-shifting turnover right outside their goal line, as defensive end Lawrence Guy stripped running back Matt Forte. Jernigan picked up the ball, but he was stripped from behind by Jets receiver Brandon Marshall, who also recovered the ball. Three plays later, Forte powered in from the 1-yard line to give the Jets a 24-16 lead.
The Ravens' offense had several chances, but it couldn't get anything going. Brandon Williams blocked a Folk field goal, giving the Ravens the ball back in the final two minutes. But the drive stalled around midfield as Flacco's pass down the right sideline to Chris Moore fell incomplete.
Flacco finished the game 25-for-44 for 248 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. The Ravens didn't score an offensive touchdown, and had just six yards rushing.
For the second straight week at MetLife Stadium, the Ravens built a 10-0 lead only to give it away. Like the New York Giants last week, the Jets gave the visitors some early help.
Punter Lachlan Edwards bobbled Tanner Purdum's snap and then was pushed away from the ball by Ravens wide receiver Chris Moore. The rookie then jumped on the ball in the end zone, giving the Ravens a 7-0 lead.
On their next offensive drive, the Ravens needed one play to move past midfield as Flacco, showing no ill effects from the shoulder injury that cost him two practices during the week, hit Mike Wallace for a 53-yard gain. The drive stalled from there, but Justin Tucker hit a 50-yard field goal to give the Ravens a 10-point lead.
But yet another good start quickly morphed into a series of mistakes from both the offense and defense.
The Jets' next drive appeared to be going nowhere, thanks to back-to-back penalties and Brandon Williams' first sack of the season. However, on second-and-18 from the Jets' 31, Geno Smith hit Quincy Enunwa for what appeared to be a moderate game. However, Enunwa spun away from linebacker Zachary Orr and safety Eric Weddle, and then easily sprinted past defensive backs Lardarius Webb and Anthony Levine Sr. for a 69-yard touchdown.
The Ravens did answer, thanks largely to Flacco's 20-yard completion to Kamar Aiken on third-and-19. Again though, they got well into Jets' territory and had to settle for Tucker 49-yard field goal, and a 13-7 lead.
They got the ball back about midway through the second quarter and seemed to be on the verge of adding to their 6-point lead. But as has been the case for much of the season, they couldn't overcome their own mistakes. Rookie left tackle Alex Lewis was called for a false start after a 15-yard reception by Wallace. On the very next play, Terrance West broke a 52-yarder down to the Jets' 4-yard line. However, a Lewis holding penalty nullified the play, and forced a punt.
The Jets got the ball back with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center rather than Smith, who hurt his knee when he was sacked by Matthew Judon on the previous drive. Fitzpatrick wasted no time in leading the Jets down the field on a seven-play, 85-yard scoring drive. Rookie cornerback Tavon Young missed a tackle on third down, the Ravens lost Brandon Marshall in the middle of the field for a 21-yard reception and Robby Anderson gained 30 yards on a reverse.
Those plays set up Fitzpatrick's 13-yard touchdown pass to running back Matt Forte, giving the Jets their first lead at 14-13. The Ravens regained a 16-14 lead on Tucker's 44-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter.