The offense struggled yet again for the Jets in a 19-3 loss at Baltimore on Sunday, a loss that underscored the eliteness of the defense and putridness of the offense.
The Jets have now lost two straight and are 5-6 as they quickly enter desperation mode the rest of the season.
On offense, the Ravens were limited to just one touchdown, albeit a pretty one when Joe Flacco linked up with Jacoby Jones for a 66-yard touchdown near the end of the third quarter. Jones split cornerback Dee Milliner and safety Ed Reed to haul in the long pass.
Four field goals by Justin Tucker, including a 53-yard effort with the wind at his back early in the third quarter, sparked the Ravens through much of the game, lifting an offense that moved the ball at times but couldn’t punch it into the end zone.
The Ravens were flat on offense, but the Jets couldn’t sustain drives. In the face of a withering pass rush, the Jets failed to air it out and their ground game managed just 3.84 yards per carry.
Rookie quarterback Geno Smith was simply terrible again as he finished the game 9-of-22 for 127 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. Smith hasn’t thrown a touchdown since Oct. 20, a span of four full games.
It doesn’t all fall on his shoulders, but Smith right now isn’t making the team better.
What we learned …
1. Reed’s big play
In his second return to Baltimore, Reed produced one of the game’s biggest plays early on. With 2:03 left in the first quarter, Reed, who spent 11 previous seasons with the Ravens, met Jones with a shot that dislodged the ball from the wide receiver’s body. A late flag was flown but the referees huddled and decided that Reed’s hit was not illegal. However, Reed would be victimized later in the game on a deep ball from Flacco to Jones. Reed turned and ran with Jones, but couldn’t quite keep up as the ball fell into Jones’ hands for a 66-yard touchdown. It was a sign of Reed’s diminished play and one of the reasons he was cut by Houston.
2. No time for Geno
It wasn’t all the fault of the offensive line, but they certainly didn’t help matters with what was an incredibly poor display against a very good Ravens pass rush. Very often, there wasn’t a pocket for Smith, forcing him to rush passes and consistently throw from his toes. For a quarterback who struggles with ball placement and accuracy, the amount of pressure he was under only exacerbated the struggles of the offense. Smith was sacked only three times but was hit throughout the game.
3. Best rush in the league
As good as the Ravens’ rush was, the Jets’ pass rush was just as good or better on Sunday. It is evident the future of this team is in its defensive line. They are so dominant they kept the Jets in this game despite a horrid display by the offense. The line had four sacks — two by Muhammad Wilkerson and one apiece by Sheldon Richardson and Calvin Pace — and Jets defenders were consistently in the Ravens backfield with six tackles for a loss. It was a good day for nose tackle Damon Harrison, who had five tackles but consistently generated a strong interior push that opened things up for Wilkerson and Richardson off the edge.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.