The Jets lost to the Ravens tonight 42-21 in Baltimore. The defeat drops the Jets to 5-9, guaranteeing a fourth consecutive losing campaign.
I don’t want to be too hard on the Jets for losing this game. This game was always a tall order. This Baltimore team has been buzzsawing its way through every opponent it has faced. The team we saw tonight might be going to the Super Bowl.
Normally when the Jets lose I spend the recap telling you the individual players who failed. But I think in this game it wasn’t so much about players as it was about a handful of plays.
That’s what makes this one a tad disappointing. Through the first two quarters and change, the Jets showed some good energy. If this team had displayed that kind of effort consistently throughout the season, I think the record would be 5-9.
Even though the Jets were getting pushed around on defense, it didn’t feel like they were totally outclassed. There were golden opportunities to stay in this game and at least make the Ravens sweat deep into the second half. The Jets missed most of them.
9:25 First Quarter: Tarell Basham misses a third down tackle on Mark Ingram that could have ended Baltimore’s first drive. The Ravens go on to score a touchdown.
5:13 First Quarter: The Jets don’t do a good enough job up front blocking on a field goal attempt, and Sam Ficken’s 49 yard field goal is partially blocked.
2:00 Second Quarter: On a fourth and 1 play, Robby Anderson loses on a contested ball in the air in the end zone against Jimmy Smith. There was some contact, but you need your number one receiver to fight through it and win a ball in the air on a play like that.
1:03 Second Quarter: Jeff Smith slows down for a second running a deep route on a coverage Baltimore has busted. The hesitation leads to an incompletion on a play that could have gone for a touchdown.
0:29 Second Quarter: With the Jets knocking on the door of a score right before the half, Darnold throws an interception into heavy coverage.
5:29 Third Quarter: On a third down sack, Darnold fumbles on his own 25. The Ravens promptly score a touchdown to go up 28-7.
These represent around 5% of the plays from scrimmage in this game. Yet you could argue these plays were the difference between the Jets having a legitimate shot to win and a game where Baltimore never really felt threatened.
That’s the way it goes in the NFL. A handful of plays can change everything. And most of these plays went this way for one reason. The Jets don’t have good enough players to make game-changing plays.
A number of the key culprits probably don’t belong on NFL rosters. Anderson is miscast as a go to guy.
And a couple of those plays are learning moments for a 22 year old second year quarterback whose team is asking him to do too much. In Darnold’s defense, there were also a number of special plays that showcased his potential.
Mainly what we saw in this game, though, is how many pieces the Jets need to catch up to a team like Baltimore. The Ravens will look back on this game and remember different key plays from the ones I mentioned that their guys made to turn this into a blowout. They have the players to make them. The Jets don’t.