BALTIMORE – Another week, another difficult second half.
And while the Jaguars battled through much of that second half to stay close on Sunday, their offensive struggles continued on a gray day in downtown Baltimore.
The Jaguars turned in their third solid first half in four weeks – as well as one of their best defensive performances of the season – but the Baltimore Ravens overcame a two-point halftime deficit and held on for a 20-12 victory in front of 70,801 at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Jaguars led 12-10 at halftime after four field goals by kicker Josh Scobee, but the Ravens took a 17-12 third-quarter lead when quarterback Joe Flacco threw three yards to tight end Owen Daniels.
The Jaguars (2-12) had 63 third-quarter yards, but couldn't get past the Ravens 44 in that period. The Jaguars finished with 240 total yards, 68 in the second half.
The Jaguars – who have one offensive touchdown in the third quarter this season – took over at midfield trailing 17-12 with 5:13 remaining in the fourth quarter, but after a 12-yard pass from rookie quarterback Blake Bortles to wide receiver Cecil Shorts III, the drive stalled and the Ravens took over on downs.
The Ravens (9-5) drove for a 33-yard field goal by Justin Tucker on the ensuing possession to take a 20-12 lead with 1:11 remaining.
Bortles turned in one of his better first-half performances of the season, completing 13 of 21 passes for 149 yards in the half. He finished having completed 21 of 37 passes for 210 yards and no touchdowns with an interception against a persistent, effective Ravens pass rush.
Baltimore finished with eight sacks.
Flacco, the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player following the 2012 season, completed 20 of 30 passes for 221 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. He completed five of five passes for 65 on the go-ahead, third-quarter drive.
The Jaguars' defense stifled the Ravens' fourth-ranked running offense much of the game, holding Justin Forsett – the AFC's third-leading rusher entering the game – to 48 yards rushing on 16 carries. The Ravens finished with 93 yards rushing.
The Jaguars' offense was efficient for the most part early, moving on their first two drives and getting a 53-yard field goal from Scobee to cap their second. But as has been the case throughout this season, a key mistake and a special teams error were costly.
With Bortles efficient early and with Toby Gerhart running effectively, the Jaguars moved to their 43 on their first drive, but tight end Marcedes Lewis dropped a pass from Bortles past midfield and the Jaguars punted two plays later.
Ravens safety Darian Stewart beat Jaguars fullback Will Ta'ufo'ou and blocked Bryan Anger's punt. Wide receiver Kamar Aiken returned the block 11 yards for a 7-0 Ravens lead with 11:52 remaining in the first quarter.
The Jaguars dominated the first quarter statistically, and after Scobee's 45-yard field goal capped a 12-play, 62-yard drive, the Ravens led 7-6 with 1:18 remaining in the first quarter.
The Jaguars held a 126-22 advantage in total yards at that point, and continued to control momentum into the second quarter.
A fumble recovery by Josh Evans led to a 53-yard field goal by Scobee that made it 9-7, Jaguars, early in the second quarter, but the Jaguars couldn't take advantage of an opportunity on the ensuing series.
Safety Johnathan Cyprien recovered a surprise onside kick at the Ravens 49. The Jaguars gained a first down to the Ravens 26, but Scobee's 42-yard field goal was wide right.
The Ravens retook the lead – 10-9 with 3:45 remaining in the half when Tucker capped a 10-play, 65-yard drive with a 22-yard field goal.
Scobee's fourth field goal of the half – a 45-yarder – came with four seconds remaining and gave the Jaguars a 12-10 halftime lead.
This came in the third quarter. With the Jaguars having settled for field goals on multiple first-half drives, the Ravens trailed just 12-10 at halftime despite Jacksonville holding a 180-136 edge in total yards. Flacco capped a six-play 80-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Daniels to give the Ravens a 17-12 lead they never relinquished.
1.Bortles had a solid first half, with perhaps his best throw a 30-yard gain to wide receiver Cecil Shorts III. The pass came on 3rd-and-10 from the Jaguars 34, dropping over Shorts' shoulder perfectly for a first down at the Ravens 36. …
2.Jaguars wide receiver Allen Hurns continued to be the team's most consistent big-play wide receiver, catching three passes in the first half for 53 yards. His 23-yard reception over the middle gave the Jaguars a first down at the Ravens 27, setting up Scobee's fourth field goal at the half. …
3.Running backs Gerhart and Storm Johnson flashed in the first half, with Johnson's 17-yard run giving the Jaguars a 1st-and-goal at the Ravens 9. The Jaguars allowed back-to-back sacks on the ensuing two plays and Scobee's 45-yard field goal made it 7-6, Ravens. …
Jaguars defensive end Ryan Davis left with a hip pointer in the first half and did not return.
The Jaguars made running back Denard Robinson inactive with a foot injury 90 minutes before kickoff Sunday. He is expected to miss the rest of the season.
The Jaguars on Sunday also deactivated defensive end Andre Branch (groin), linebacker Khairi Fortt (hamstring), cornerback Jeremy Harris, cornerback Teddy Williams, guard Tyler Shatley and linebacker A.J. Edds.
First half images from the Jaguars Week 15 matchup with the Ravens.