The Baltimore Ravens left the Meadowlands with a rough 10-9 victory over the N.Y. Jets.
After a 25-minute delay from thunderstorms, the game finally began to kickoff the regular season for the Ravens and Jets.
Slow and Ugly Start for the Offense
After the Ravens forced the Jets to punt on their opening drive, the Ravens offense stepped on the field looking to score. But instead, the exact opposite happened— the Jets capitalized on a crucial fumble by Flacco and took an early 3-point lead with a field goal. At least the Ravens defense stepped up and did not allow a touchdown. Matter of fact, the Ravens did not allow a touchdown all game.
But going back to the Ravens offense, it wasn’t pretty. The Ravens looked like they were about to go 3-and-out, but a holding call on CB Derrell Revis kept the chains moving (which was the story of the rest of the game: penalties against the Jets secondary keeps Ravens drives alive). Unfortunately, even that couldn’t help the Ravens from turning the ball over. RB Willis McGahee tried to do too much and coughed up the ball in the red zone on the Ravens 2nd drive.
It didn’t end there. When the Ravens were nearing the red zone again, Flacco threw a bone-head interception to CB Antonio Cromartie. That means the Ravens turned the ball over 3 times in 3 consecutive drives.
Defense Wins Games
The “Organized Chaos” title belonged to the Ravens and not the Jets tonight. They helped the Ravens recover from turnovers, keep the Jets offense off the field, and finish the game. After the Flacco interception, the Ravens forced a fumble and got the ball back. This helped build some momentum for the Ravens offense and finally score a touchdown— their only one of the night.
Who thought the Ravens secondary was vulnerable? Jets QB Mark Sanchez was held to just 74 passing yards on 21 attempts, 10 completions. And no, the Jets didn’t make up for it by running the ball; the No. 1 rushing team in the league last year only managed to run a combined 116 yards— not impressive.
The Purple Chaos defense held the Jets to only 176 yards of total offense. Time of possession for the Jets? Just about 21 minutes— that’s only half the Ravens’ 38 minutes of possession. And the Jets could only get 44 plays out; for comparison, the Ravens had 75 total plays.
So tonight was a sure win for the Ravens defense. Even without strong pressure by the defensive line, the cornerbacks held their own.
Jets Didn’t “Walk the Walk”
All this hype about the Jets going to Super Bowl was just that— hype. The Jets essentially beat themselves with the 14 penalties they accumulated for 125 yards.
Chances are Rex Ryan will continue to be cocky, but maybe this game will show him that his team isn’t the best on the block. Clearly, his team has a lot to work on. Revis may not have had problems, but his fellow cornerbacks were getting beat left and right. Ball security was an issue for RB Shonn Greene, who fumbled twice and dropped an easy pass. And finally, Sanchez was no where to be found.
MVP of the Game – Anquan Boldin
Almost exactly what I predicted: 7 catches, 110 yards. Boldin made his debut in purple a good one. His longest catch was a 38-yarder that took the offense down the field, eventually setting up the Ravens for a field goal.
Other notable performers were Todd Heap and Ray Lewis.
Slow start, but strong finish.
Head Coach John Harbaugh said it best in his post-game conference, “…it’s a player’s victory.” Even with 3 early turnovers, the Ravens never let up. It was a combination of nice plays by the offense and defense that helped the Ravens win, a true team effort. I think it’s safe to say we’re all proud of them.