How do you finish games?
Baltimore has lost double-digit fourth quarter leads in all three of its losses. The Ravens have been outscored, 45-10, in the fourth quarter in their three losses.
The Ravens' answer to their fourth-quarter woes is to not get too complicated, and especially not get in their own heads about it.
"It's one of those things that you don't want to overthink. It's not one of those things that you want to make more of than it is," Head Coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday.
"We're going to try to finish everything; you try to finish the first play just like you try to finish the last play. So, keep playing football, keep doing what we do, and we'll be fine."
Baltimore's defense has climbed the rankings after being at the bottom of the league after two weeks. The Ravens now rank 25th overall and 28th in pass defense. It's going to take more time to dig out after the Miami loss, but Baltimore's defense is giving up fewer big plays and headed in the right direction.
The Ravens offense still ranks among the league best in yards per game (9th), rushing (6th) and points per game (5th). Baltimore has improved its ground game with the running backs, as the offensive line is becoming one of the team's strong points.
"The foundation is there. It's not that I'm looking at it, or anyone's looking at it like, 'Hey, we really have some things to worry about,'" Harbaugh said. "We know we're playing good football [on] both sides of the ball. Just keep striving, keep trying to get better, keep building on what we've done in the past, and we're going to be good."
What's bothering Jackson is the Ravens' struggles to convert in the red-zone last week against the Giants. Overall, the Ravens rank 10th in the league in red-zone touchdown percentage but settling for two short field goals in MetLife Stadium was costly.
"I feel like we need to stop putting that on our mind, because we know we should be doing that anyways. We're the offense; [when] we get in the red zone, we should score points; not over-emphasize that like, 'We're in the red zone; we need to score!'" Jackson said.
"Me and some of the guys were talking … We've just got to go out there and do us, because we've been doing it without thinking about scoring in the red zone or scoring from here – we just went out there and did it – and we need to get back to it."
The Ravens know they need to perform in the red zone. They know they need to close out games in the fourth quarter. Both of those things come down to execution on a play-to-play basis.
Jackson tried to do too much when he recovered the errant fourth-quarter snap and chucked a pass to fullback Patrick Ricard that was intercepted by the Giants.
On the other hand, Jackson has made a living making spectacular plays in challenging situations. The Browns are coming to M&T Bank Stadium this Sunday. When they came to Baltimore last year, Jackson essentially sunk them with two off-script long passes to tight end Mark Andrews.
"Oh, man, it's football," Jackson said. "Like you said, I'm very competitive, and sometimes things don't go as planned. Sometimes mistakes happen when we don't need them to, when you don't want them to; you're going to have to live with them. But hopefully it doesn't happen again."