But one play much earlier in the contest helped the Ravens pull out a 20-17 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday.
The Jets had a 14-0 lead and were driving for another score late in the second quarter. Quincy Carter, making his first start in place of the injured Chad Pennington, looked sharp, having completed all seven of his passes to that point.
On first-and-10 from the Ravens 17, offensive coordinator Paul Hackett, ripped so many times for being too conservative, called a halfback option pass.
Carter pitched to backup running back LaMont Jordan, who was immediately swarmed by the defense. Instead of allowing himself to be tackled or throwing the ball away, Jordan lofted the ball into the end zone. Ed Reed was there waiting, and he made the interception.
Reed returned it 104 yards for a score, but the touchdown was called back because of a holding call. That hardly mattered. Kyle Boller converted a fourth-and-8 play, then threw a 6-yard TD pass to Clarence Moore with 53 seconds left before halftime.
The Ravens (6-3) trailed 14-7 at the break. Though they did not have the lead, they had the momentum.
“We ran the play, thought it might work, and thought we maybe would get up 21 on them,” coach Herman Edwards said. “The worst thing that could have happened, happened—we threw an interception.”
Jordan said he was trying to throw the ball out of the end zone.
“I automatically said that this game is on my shoulders,” Jordan said. “That play definitely was the turning point in the game. We are up 14-0, we just had a big play, and we are going in to score, then I threw an interception. They get the momentum and we just never got the momentum back.”
Though Reed said he was not surprised to see a trick play, he could not believe Jordan threw the ball.
“I didn’t expect it because they were all bunched up and I didn’t see anyone open,” Reed said. “It was a chance they took.”
A big chance that ended up costing them. The Jets (6-3) have lost two straight and three of four, and the loss could have wild-card implications later in the season.
After going 8-for-8 in the first half, Carter went 5-of-14 for 43 yards after the break. And Boller completely outplayed him. Boller guided two-second half scores, including a 16-yarder to Moore with 4:13 remaining to give the Ravens a 17-14 lead.
The Jets tied the score when Doug Brien kicked a 20-yard field goal with 5 seconds to go in regulation. But another mistake cost them a chance at a touchdown. Facing third-and-goal from the 3 following an incomplete pass, the Jets wasted their final timeout with 8 seconds remaining.
A draw play was called, but Carter broke the huddle too late and there was little chance they could get the play off in time. Instead, they kicked the field goal.
In overtime, the Jets went three and out twice before Baltimore final drove for the winning score.
Boller got them in position by converting a third-and-5 from the Baltimore 49 with a 21-yard pass to Kevin Johnson. Boller then completed a 10-yard pass to Travis Taylor on third-and-14 from the Jets 34.
“It comes down to being able to calm down, stay with your technique and just trust your holder and snapper,” Stover said. “Kyle knew it was good before I did. He was picking me up before I even knew it was good.”
Boller was 19-of-33 for 213 yards with two touchdowns, while Jamal Lewis had 30 carries for 68 yards.
Curtis Martin had two touchdowns in the second quarter, but also was ineffective after the break. He finished with 28 carries for 119 yards.
Pennington cheered from the sideline, waving a white towel to exhort his teammates. But it did little good. He is expected to be out another one to three weeks with a strained right rotator cuff.
Though the Ravens blew a big chance on the first drive, failing to score on fourth-and-1 from the goal line, they made the big pays when they had to.
“Our offense stuck together,” Boller said. “It’s been hard some times to take the criticism. This was a team effort. We struggled at the beginning. Our guys just went out and made plays.”
Kordell Stewart was forced to punt for the Ravens when Dave Zastudil left the game with a left shoulder injury in the second quarter. Stewart, who had not punted since high school, finished with a 35.4 average. CB Chris McAlister (neck stinger) also was hurt in the game. … Ravens CB Deion Sanders (toe), T Jonathan Ogden (hamstring) and TE Todd Heap (ankle), and Jets DE Shaun Ellis (groin) and S Jon McGraw (abdominal) were inactive.