The Ravens defense absolutely shut down the Jets.
Yet New York hung around and hung around, trailing by just nine points late in the third quarter.
Then finally, at long last, the Ravens offense got the explosive play they've lacked all season.
Quarterback Joe Flacco connected with wide receiver Jacoby Jones on a 66-yard bomb over former Ravens safety Ed Reed's head to give Baltimore a 19-3 win over the visiting Jets.
Flacco joined Tyrod Taylor in a leaping celebration and Jones whipped out his trademark dance moves for the first time this season.
It had been a while.
In a season full of more narrow defeats than close wins, the Ravens feel like they put together their first complete game of the year. And thanks to the big play of the game and long score, they finally could breathe easy down the stretch.
"When I saw the two hands go up, it was time to boogie," Jones said.
"We finally put our game together in all three phases. I always said, offense rolls, defense holds and special teams stay special and we'll get big wins."
With the victory, the Ravens (5-6) keep pace in the wild-card playoff race. They now have head-to-head victories over two of their top competitors for the final spot, the Jets and Dolphins.
It sets up another huge game with the rival Pittsburgh Steelers on Thanksgiving night. A victory then would put the Ravens in good position to reach the playoffs. Pittsburgh is also 5-6.
Baltimore's defense and kicker Justin Tucker (four field goals) carried the team most of the day as the offense often moved the ball but struggled to put it in the end zone.
The Jets were held to just 220 yards of total offense. It's the fewest yards the Ravens have allowed all year, and fewest points Baltimore has surrendered in a game since 2009.
Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith was feeble amidst cold temperatures, swirling winds and a swarming Ravens defense. He finished just 9-of-22 for 127 yards and two interceptions.
The Jets didn't convert on third down until their ninth try and were 1-for-12 on the day. They frequently used the wildcat formation with wide receiver/returner Josh Cribbs, but even that was quickly shut down after early success.
The Ravens defense gobbled up three turnovers: a fumble recovery by outside linebacker Terrell Suggs and two interceptions by cornerback Corey Graham in the second half.
A lot of the talk leading up to the game was about New York's No. 1-ranked run defense and dominant defensive line. Facing its old defensive coordinator, Rex Ryan, the Ravens' unit came in with a chip on its shoulder.
"We knew they've got a pretty good front seven, and they play good ball," Graham said. "But when it came down to it, we wanted to be a dominant defense, and that's what we were able to do today."
As lopsided as the game ended, the Jets got on the board first thanks to the trickery with Cribbs. The veteran threw a first-down pass to quarterback Smith. But the Ravens' top-ranked red zone defense held up once again inside the 20, surrendering just a 27-yard field goal and a 3-0 Jets lead.
New York didn't sniff the end zone from that point on.
Baltimore came back to tie the game on the next drive, and used some trickery of its own as backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor was a major part of the Ravens' game plan. He ran once for 17 yards, but a jarring hit by Reed on Jones in the end zone forced the Ravens to settle for a 30-yard field goal on the drive.
The Ravens got their first big play of the game on their next drive as Flacco connected with receiver Torrey Smith on a 60-yard bomb. The offense stalled in the red zone again and Tucker put them up, 6-3, in the second quarter with a 26-yard field goal.
Baltimore finally got a break on a fumble as a Jets snap bounced off the leg of wide receiver Greg Salas, who was in motion, and Suggs recovered it at the Jets 19. The Ravens had an opportunity to break the game open.
But on the second play after the turnover, Flacco simply had an off-target pass that was easily intercepted by Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie. It was Flacco's 14th interception this season and his sixth in four games.
The Ravens defense continued to get after the rookie Smith and forced a quick three-and-out. The offense marched down the field once again thanks to gains of 27 and 13 yards to tight end Ed Dickson. Yet again, it couldn't punch the ball into the end zone and Tucker booted a 33-yard field goal to give the Ravens a 9-3 lead at halftime.
Tucker continued to provide the Ravens' scoring in the second half. Set up with excellent field position after a beautiful Sam Koch 64-yard punt and another three-and-out by the defense, Tucker slipped a 53-yard field goal inside the left upright to give Baltimore a 12-3 lead.
Tucker is now 24-for-26 this season and has hit 22 straight field goals.
"They're expecting me to put three points on the board no matter where it's from," Tucker said. "I was pretty pumped up to hit that ball, and as soon as it left my foot I had no doubt."
New York's offense started to gain traction and threaten to make the game tight. But Graham intercepted a long third-down pass to halt the Jets' attack. The interception set up the play the Ravens have been waiting for all year.
Flacco faked a handoff to Ray Rice, got good protection and heaved a pass down the middle of the field.
The wind moved the ball to the left and Jones faded that direction after burning rookie first-round cornerback Dee Milliner and Reed, who was making his second return to M&T Bank Stadium this season.
Jones hauled in the pass over his head, and dove into the end zone for the 66-yard score. It marked his first 100-yard game as a Raven, and just the second of his career.
"Jacoby made a play," Reed said. "He adjusted to the ball really well. I probably should have grabbed him and taken the penalty, but he was the one that made the play."
The Ravens had yet to put together a complete game this season. On Sunday, the special teams controlled field position, got big punt returns and hit every field goal. The offense hit the big play. The defense dominated and took the ball away.
Baltimore has been looking for a game to turn its season around. Now it has a chance to get on a roll.
"We've played this hard all year," said outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil, who ended the game with a sack. "It's nice to see that it's starting to work out for us now."