The Baltimore Ravens pulled to within 1 game of .500 overall, beating the New York Jets 19-3 at M&T Bank Stadium. Baltimore will now prepare to face the Pittsburgh Steelers Thanksgiving Night, also at home.
(Discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
What did we see?
1) Coming into today, the Jets were the 6th seed in AFC Playoffs with their 5-5 record. Baltimore was 9th (Miami and Oakland were 7th and 8th). A loss vs. NY would have ended any remaining post-season aspirations for the Ravens. With the head-to-head win vs. NY, Baltimore’s focus turns to beating Pittsburgh Thanksgiving Night and getting to .500. Should the Ravens close out this 3 game home-stand (the 3rd game being vs. Minnesota 12/8) with 3 wins; the Ravens should be decent position to return to the Playoffs going into the remaining 3 weeks of the season. Today was a possible elimination game for the Ravens, and they responded to that challenge.
2) Yes, Geno Smith was horrible; but Baltimore’s defense deserves some credit for the Jets offensive ineffectiveness as well. Sad looking numbers (1st downs, 3rd down conversions, and total yards) across the board for the Jets. Daryl Smith with another impressive game at LB for the Ravens. (Also, kudos to Graham for his 2 picks.)
3) No issue from me about the using Taylor under center at times. I like that wrinkle. I was surprised by the amount of plays he got (especially the multiple red zone opportunities), and was further surprised by the insistence of having Flacco split wide on those plays. With Flacco not moving at all, wouldn’t another WR make more sense? At-least another WR would provide a decoy.
4) The Jets took a 3-0 lead on their 2nd possession, working down the field with use of the Wildcat. Good job from the Ravens to limit New York to a FG attempt after the Jets reached 1st and Goal.
5) Baltimore answered NY’s initial FG with a good looking drive of their own. Starting from the Baltimore 25, Flacco delivered a bullet to Jones for 17 yards. That was followed Taylor gaining 17 yards on the ground, and Flacco and Dickson connecting for 15 yards. Overall the Ravens went 63 yards over 11 plays, and tied the game at 3 on a Tucker FG. The Ravens had to settle for the FG attempt, when their 3rd and 9 play from the Jets 12 yard went incomplete with a strong hit from Reed on Jones in the end zone.
6) Beautiful throw-and-catch from Flacco to Smith to begin the 2nd Quarter. Later on that drive, Dickson would prevent a Flacco interception, as he turned into a defender. With the Jets bringing a full blitz on a 3rd down, Flacco was under immense pressure. Somehow he was able to find Clark for 12 yards setting up 1st and Goal. Ultimately the Ravens would again have to settle for a FG. Tucker would hit, giving Baltimore the 6-3 lead.
7) Later in the 2nd, Suggs recovered a Jets fumble, allowing the Baltimore offense to take over in the Red Zone. Unfortunately the Ravens would give the ball immediately back to NY with Flacco being picked off. It was a spot throw from Flacco, with miscommunication between him and his receivers – Smith, and Brown.
8) Coming back from the 2 minute warning, Tucker knocked through his 3rd FG as the Ravens lead was extended to 6 (9-3). Dickson gained 40 yards on the series, with the highlight being a 27 yard grab with a lot of yards after the catch. He was helped by a nice block from Brown. It was a 3rd time that the Ravens had to settle for a FG attempt, and including the Flacco interception; the 4th time Baltimore did not come away with a TD in the Red Zone.
9) A strong punt from Koch put the Jets in bad field position early in the 2nd half. The Ravens defense forced a 3 and out and got the ball at the NY 33. The offense could do nothing with the ball, but Tucker bailed the Ravens out again – nailing his 4th attempt of the game, this time from 53 yards out.
10) Beautiful block from Upshaw on Jones’ 37 yard PR in the 3rd Quarter.
11) The game was effectively ended, when Flacco and Jones connected on their 66 yard TD at the end of the 3rd Quarter. With the xp, Baltimore went up 19-3.
12) Should Pitta be back in the next week or two, Dickson figures to be used less. It also seems likely he will not be back next year. Still, he had one of his better days today.
13) In addition to his big TD catch, Jones had a few other catches. He also made a difference in the return game (both PR’s, and KR’s).
14) The Jets run defense is better than the Bears run defense, and the Ravens rushing offense again showed to be limited today.