EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The Jets beat the Baltimore Ravens 24-16 picking up a much needed win at home. The team got back to its identity with exceptional defense and a solid run game, holding the Ravens to a franchise low six rushing yards on 12 attempts.
"It's hard to win in the National Football League," wide receiver Brandon Marshall said after the game.
It took all four quarters for the Jets to pull out the win and running back Matt Forte put his imprint on the game rushing for 100 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries. Forte also had four catches for 54 yards. The Jets ran for 138 yards in the second half alone and finished with a game total of 155 yards.
"We played complementary football today when it comes to the offense and defense we've got to continue to do that," said Marshall. "The running game is something that we pride ourselves on and it hasn't been working, so for us to pop a few hear and there today was definitely good for us and on the defensive side those guys just took the momentum and ran with it."
Gang Green has struggled get takeaways all season, but today the Jets forced two huge turnovers both in the second half. Buster Skrine and Marcus Gilchrist each had interceptions. Sheldon Richardson (six tackles, one sack), had a monster game. Mainly because he got back to playing on the defensive line, which is what he does best.
The Jets got off to a shaky start to begin the game. On fourth and four from their own 29 yard-line, Jets Punter Lachlan Edwards fumbled the snap, tried to pick it up, then lost it again. Ravens wide out Chris Moore would recover the football in the end zone putting the Ravens up 7-0 five minutes into the first quarter.
Later in the quarter, quarterback Joe Flacco (25-44, 248 yards, two interceptions) would connect with receiver Mike Wallace (10 catches, 120 yards), for a big 53 yard gain. The Ravens targeted Skrine in the pass game but it would backfire later in the contest. The Ravens led 10-0 early in the first quarter thanks to a Justin Tucker 50 yard field goal. Tucker finished the game three-for-three goal on field goals, with kicks from 44, 49, and 50 yards.
The Jets would respond later in the quarter when Geno Smith (four-of-eight, 95 yards, one TD) found Quincy Enunwa for a 69 yard catch and run down the left sideline which brought the Jets within three. Enunwa had just two catches for 73 yards on the day.
"We had a great game-plan," Enunwa said. "We made plays, and that was the one thing that has been missing."
As mentioned before, the Jet defense was tremendous against the run but a Richardson sack for a loss of nine got the fans amped up just as the first quarter ended.
After suffering a knee injury in the second quarter, Smith was replaced by Ryan Fitzpatrick, who led the team on a seven play 85 yard drive than ended with a 13 yard reception by Forte. Fitzpatrick was four-of-four for 44 yards on that drive. The touchdown gave the Jets a 14-13 lead with 2:49 left in the second quarter. Tucker would respond with a 44 yard field goal to put the Ravens up 16-14 at halftime. Smith would not return to the game.
In the second half, the Baltimore offense looked much like the Jet offense we've seen in previous games this season. The Ravens turned the ball over and failed to score any points. They finished 3-of-14 on third downs for the game. The Ravens had just 47 total yards of offense in the second half.
"Well, they stopped the run," Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said after the game. "They stuffed us.... And then the turnovers those are things that stopped the drives."
Flacco was picked off twice in the third quarter. Throughout the week, Flacco missed practice with right shoulder soreness and after the game Harbaugh said that he wasn't sure how he was feeling. Flacco finished the game with zero touchdown passes.
Skrine returned a Flacco interception to Baltimore's 3 yard-line. But the Jets would settle for a Nick Folk 22 yard field goal which gave them a 17-16 lead with five minutes left in the third quarter. On Baltimore's next possession Flacco threw an interception to Gilchrist who returned it 27 yards to the Ravens 24 yard-line. A 15 yard run by Forte would give the Jets first and goal and then things got weird. On second and goal from the Baltimore six yard-line, Forte ran up the middle and fumbled the football at the three yard-line, the fumble was forced by Lawrence Guy - Timmy Jernigan would recover and run out to the four yard-line before being stripped by Marshall who would also recover the ball at the five yard-line.
"That was the biggest play of the game," Marshall said.
All of that and the Jets ended up where they started at the beginning of the play in what was a bizarre sequence. However the Jets got a fresh set of downs to work with, and on third and goal Forte ran up the middle for a one yard touchdown giving the Jets a 24-16 lead.
In the fourth quarter the Jets were conservative on offense, playing not to lose the game. On the other side, the Ravens failed to get anything going, but with 3 minutes left in the game Folk would have his 51 yard field goal attempt blocked by Brandon Williams, giving the Ravens another shot to tie the game down by eight points.
On fourth and long, Flacco tried going deep but the pass was broken up by Marcus Williams. That sealed a victory for the Jets who would kneel down and run out the clock. With the loss, the Ravens fall to a record of 3-4
"It's about damn time," Calvin Pryor said about the victory.
Despite the win, a potential quarterback controversy could be brewing within the next few days. Fitz replaced Geno and played well enough to win the game, but we'll have to wait until later in the week to see who will be behind center in the next game.
"Let me enjoy it for another few hours until we get into the quarterback controversy please, thank you," said Marshall.
Next week the Jets travel to Cleveland to play the Browns.
Nick Mangold (ankle) left the game in the first quarter and did not return.
Geno Smith (knee) left the game in the second quarter and did not return.
Bruce Carter (quad) left the game in the second quarter and did not return.
Marcus Reynolds is a staff writer for JetsInsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@Marcus_JRNL), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).