The Giants needed a fast start. They got just the opposite.
Safety Logan Ryan laid out the blueprint for beating the Baltimore Ravens from his days as a playoff spoiler with the Tennessee Titans: Take an early lead and force the offense to stray away from the run and the defense to bring less pressure.
Smart thinking. Terrible execution.
The Giants did nothing to disrupt the way the Ravens like to play on either side of the ball Sunday and fell, 27-13, to extend their losing streak to three games. It’s the fourth consecutive season and sixth in the last seven with double-digit losses for the Giants (5-10).
The Ravens faced only one third down (converted) on a 13-play, 82-yard opening touchdown drive that set a tone for physical domination at the line of scrimmage. After a Giants’ three-and-out featuring two offensive line penalties, the Ravens (10-5) moved 65 yards on 10 plays for another touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
The game was over right there, but the final tally for the Ravens was 249 rushing yards and six sacks. Lamar Jackson threw for 183 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 81, and Staten Island native Gus Edwards ran for another 85 but lost a fumble.
For the time being, the Giants incredibly remain alive for the NFC East title and accompanying playoff berth. They need Washington to lose to Carolina and Philadelphia to lose to Dallas later Sunday to be alive entering Week 17.
In the first quarter alone, the Ravens held advantages of 11-1 in first downs and 147-13 in yards, including 95 yards rushing. Giants quarterback Daniel Jones returned — or so that was the rumor from anyone who saw the offense on the field for less than two of the first 15 minutes.
The second quarter wasn’t much prettier, but the Giants defense tightened inside the 10-yard line to force a field goal. Too bad 17-0 might as well have been 170-0 given the two-way struggles.
The Giants’ first sustained drive ended with a field goal and the defense quickly gave back those three points. The Ravens’ four first-half possessions all lasted at least 10 plays, covered at least 65 yards and resulted in points.
This was Jones’ second attempt to return from a right hamstring injury suffered Nov. 29. The first time — two weeks ago against the Cardinals — was a disaster because he couldn’t escape pressure and was sacked eight times, injuring his left ankle, too.
After a week off, Jones looked much more comfortable on his feet and increased his number of deep throws, but he still lacked the ability to be a rushing threat. Without that part of his skill set, Jones has never proven he can be better than pedestrian.
Jones was the Giants’ leading rusher entering Week 12 but hasn’t scrambled in either of his last two starts — the first two such games of his career.
It wasn’t quite as bad as Eli Manning’s first career game at Baltimore — when he registered a 0.0 passer rating as a rookie in 2004 and was benched for performance reasons for the only time in a 236-game career — but the offense remained stuck in the mud.
The Giants kicked a field goal to close within a manageable two-touchdown deficit, 20-6, with four minutes left in the third quarter. Until you realize they have scored two touchdowns in their last three games combined.
Trailing 27-6, Jones was sacked on three consecutive plays during one series, with rookie offensive tackles Matt Peart and Andrew Thomas looking overmatched. A roughing the punter penalty against the Ravens extended the drive, however, and Jones threw his ninth touchdown pass of the season — the second to Sterling Shepard.
An incompletion from Jones to Evan Engram on fourth-and-19 ended any hopes of a fourth-quarter miracle.