New York kept the game tight in the first quarter, more than holding their own in a field-position battle that looked certain to end in a tight, low-scoring affair. However, the Ravens were able to widen the gap with some big plays, each of which intensified the pressure on the Jets and narrowed their already flimsy margin of error.
Things were under control until Joe Flacco completed a 60-yard pass to Torrey Smith to set up the go-ahead field goal, then the Jets turned the ball over in their own territory on a freak play where Nick Mangold's snap hit the man in motion. These key moments always seem to go against the Jets when the game is still in balance and when they start to pile up, you know you're gon' get got.
I considered writing this whole article by cutting and pasting together quotes from previous BGA's, since there was really nothing in this game that we haven't seen before over the past few years. Overly conservative play-calling, individual errors in execution and a gradual 60-minute collapse have all been issues that have blighted the Rex Ryan era. The Jets have been victims of this game before and I've had to write on this mess.
The Jets played the whole game as if they were wanting to avoid making any mistakes to keep the game close, rather than imposing their will on the Ravens. The difference in the game was a couple of big plays that went Baltimore's way and landed the Jets way down in the hole, but the Jets' approach seemed to be to go through the motions, waiting for a big play that would never come. You cannot win if you don't play. In the NFL, it's play or get played. That simple.
This is Baltimore. The Gods will not save you.
Next up...we start our analysis of the individual player breakdowns with a look at the Jets continued failure to get Geno Smith going...