The Jets earned an ugly win, but the way the season has gone, they’ll take it.
Despite losing Geno Smith to injury in the first half, seeing receivers drop open passes, and committing far too many penalties and turnovers that would’ve cost them against a good team, Gang Green managed to overcome themselves in a 24-16 win over the Baltimore Ravens.
Baltimore (3-4) used to be a good team, following a promising 3-0 start, but entering the game on a three-game losing streak, today’s tilt turned out to be a very winnable game for the Jets (2-5). The Ravens suffered their fourth-straight defeat, while the Jets finally snapped its four-game skid.
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The Ravens’ offense suffered a beating at the hands of a Gang Green defense that entered undermanned. Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (ankle) and linebackers Darron Lee (ankle) and Erin Henderson (reserve/nonfootball injury and illness list) didn’t dress, but the Ravens failed to capitalize, as quarterback Joe Flacco was harassed all afternoon and the running game never got on track in accumulating just 6 rushing yards.
Baltimore was without wideout Steve Smith Sr., and the Jets took full advantage of it as they were able to key on the very few targets that Flacco was afforded. Flacco, who leads the league in pass attempts, failed to throw a touchdown pass among his 44 attempts.
New York even had some luck on its side for once, as they turned misfortune into fortune at an opportune moment. Running back Matt Forte fumbled near the goal line, and the Ravens recovered — only to fumble it right back during the return. Forte then put an end to the madness, three plays later, as he waltzed in for a 1-yard touchdown and provided the final margin.
The sequence was a microcosm of the Jets’ season, but this time, fate worked out for them. The win wasn’t a pretty one for Gang Green, but when they’ve playing as poorly as they have been during the skid, they’ll take any possible win.
Metro takes a look at the key moments that helped the Jets earn their first win in over a month.
What We Saw:
1. Finding Forte — The once struggling running back had a mini-breakout game as he tallied 100 rushing yards, while scoring twice. Forte was coming off recent performances where he tallied 27, 53 and 19 rushing yards, but had a bit of an awakening against a Ravens defense that was tops in the league against the run. The versatile back also added four catches for 54 yards, including a touchdown reception. It was a promising performance for a running game that’s sagged lately and needed a boost against a vaunted run defense.
2. Secondary provided primary problems — Flacco had gone a team-record 176 consecutive throws without an interception before cornerback Buster Skrine picked off Baltimore’s franchise signal caller in the third quarter. Flacco threw interceptions on back-to-back possessions to gift wrap 10 points for the Jets, which ultimately proved to be the final points necessary for a Jets’ win. The secondary still gave up a deep ball — a 53-yarder to Mike Wallace — but when they needed to make a play when it mattered most, they stepped up and thwarted Flacco and company. Cornerback Marcus Williams made the play of the day for the Jets when he swatted away a deep fourth-down throw to Chris Moore at the Jets’ 5-yard line to put away the game. It was the Ravens’ last-gasp play with just over a minute remaining, and judging by the crowd’s baited breath when the ball hung in the air, Jets’ fans were ready for yet another disappointing outcome. But Williams hung tough and knocked the ball out of Moore’s hand to preserve the win.
3. What a ride — Smith got the start, replacing a moribund Ryan Fitzpatrick, but the Geno Coaster unfortunately gave way to the Fitzpatrick Freefall in the second quarter, due to a right knee injury to Smith, who went four-of-eight for 95 yards and a touchdown in his brief time. And while the bearded one didn’t light it up, he was a steadying influence on the offense and didn’t commit any turnovers. Fitzpatrick went nine-of-14 for 120 yards and a touchdown, while directing five scoring drives. Head coach Todd Bowles has already noted that it’s “too early to tell” if Smith will regain his starting role next week against the Cleveland Browns if he’s healthy enough, so this upcoming week should be quite interesting for the maligned signal callers.