JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Baltimore Ravens' defense had been so dominant this season that players talked about setting their goal as one of the all-time best defenses in team history.
Instead, the Ravens set a team record in heartache.
Baltimore’s 28-27 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars marked its third defeat when allowing the deciding score in the final 15 seconds of regulation. This is the first time this has happened in the franchise’s 26-year existence, according to research by the Elias Sports Bureau.
"We can't be a great defense if we can't stop nobody in the fourth,” Ravens inside linebacker Patrick Queen said.
Over the last four games, Baltimore ranked third in the NFL in averaging fewest points allowed (14.5) and yards given up (283.3), making a strong case that this defense had solved its fourth-quarter issues. Then, on Sunday, the Ravens defense had a chance to close out a victory leading 27-20 with 2:02 remaining.
But Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence went 7-of-9 for 91 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Jones Jr. with 14 seconds remaining. Down 27-26, Lawrence then won the game by connecting with Zay Jones on a two-point conversion.
Baltimore outside linebacker Justin Houston acknowledged that defenders got “lackadaisical” on that final drive.
"[There was a] lack of communication,” Houston said. "The little things -- I think that’s what you've got to do to play a complete game. You've got to do it for four quarters, not three, and we didn’t do it for four quarters.”
Falling in the final seconds have become a disturbing trend for Baltimore this season:
Week 4 vs. Buffalo: Tyler Bass hits a 21-yard field goal as time expired as the Ravens lost 23-20.
Week 12 at Jacksonville: Lawrence delivers a 10-yard touchdown pass to Jones with 14 seconds left that had an 8.2 percent completion probability, the lowest rate on any touchdown pass over the last two seasons, according to NFL Next Gen Stats.
The Ravens’ third loss in the final 15 seconds of regulation is tied with five other teams for the most through 12 weeks in NFL history, according to Elias Sports Bureau. Baltimore has given up 108 points in the fourth quarter this season, which are the most in the NFL.
"To have the game in our hands as a defense, we expect to win that every time,” Ravens defensive end Calais Campbell said. "We didn't get it done. We knew they were talented. They have a lot of playmakers, and they fought hard to make the plays to win the game. We’ve got to go back and watch the tape and figure out how we can improve, but this one definitely stings.”