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(Monday, September 13th)
Final Score: Baltimore 10, NY Jets 9
East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - Joe Flacco led an adequate pass attack with 248 yards, and the Baltimore Ravens won a defensive battle with the New York Jets, 10-9, to open up the 2010 schedule for both clubs at New Meadowlands Stadium.
Flacco completed 20-of-38 passes and threw an interception for the Ravens (1-0), who have high expectations this season after a loss to the Colts in the divisional playoffs a year ago. New acquisition Anquan Boldin hauled in seven passes for 110 yards, while Todd Heap added six catches for 72 yards.
"As a player, you don't pay attention too much to the hype outside the locker room," Boldin said. We know no matter what people say in the paper or what not, the game still has to be played on the field. That is all we were worried about leading up to the game. We felt pretty confident with the game plan we had and the way we prepared. It felt like we could come in and get a victory."
Willis McGahee scored the game's lone touchdown, while Ray Rice added 43 yards on the ground.
The story of the game was the Ravens' defense, which wasn't nearly as hyped as their top-ranked counterparts in New York. Baltimore held an anemic Jets offense to just 176 yards, including only 60 through the air.
"The bottom line is we just wanted to play football," said Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. "I tip my hat to my team. We played a heck of a game tonight."
Mark Sanchez was highly ineffective when given the opportunity for the Jets (0-1), throwing for 74 yards on 10-of-21 passing. New York, which went through the "Hard Knocks" series on HBO earlier this summer, was billed by many to be a Super Bowl contender after a surprise run to the AFC Championship Game in 2009.
LaDainian Tomlinson, in his first game with the Jets after leaving the Chargers via free agency, ran 11 times for 62 yards, but penalties plagued New York throughout the game. The hosts committed 14 infractions for a total of 125 yards, their highest total since 1988.
Rex Ryan, a former assistant with Baltimore for 10 seasons prior to his hiring in New York, was unable to top his old club in the first matchup against them.
New York, trailing by one, got one last chance to win the game after a Baltimore punt pinned the Jets on their own 18 with 1:37 to go and one timeout.
A false start penalty backed them up immediately, but a Sanchez nine-yard pass to Tomlinson got the drive started. Two plays later, a nine-yard strike to Braylon Edwards gained a first down to the 31-yard line, which was followed by the Jets' last timeout with 57 seconds left.
Three incompletions ensued, setting up a do-or-die 4th-and-10 with 41 ticks on the clock. Sanchez hit Dustin Keller one yard short of the first down, but -- despite having no defender near him -- he stepped out of bounds shy of the marker, handing the ball over to the Ravens, who took a knee to drain out the clock.
"When I caught the ball, I thought I was at the spot and could just go out of bounds ahead of the first down mark, but unfortunately that wasn't the case," Keller said.
The Jets' defense came out every bit as tenacious as they were last season.
After New York punted on its opening possession, Flacco dropped back on the Ravens' first play and was crunched by two Jets defenders at the same time. The ball came loose, and Sione Pouha pounced on it at the Baltimore 11-yard line.
Nick Folk kicked a 23-yard field goal for an early 3-0 Jets lead.
Baltimore drove to the Jets' 20 on its next drive, but McGahee coughed the ball up among a host of New York defenders, as Pouha once again came up with the football.
While the Jets' offense struggled, a special teams play led to some more points. Jim Leonhard returned a punt 32 yards to the Baltimore 37 a couple minutes into the second quarter, and a horse collar tackle on the Ravens helped New York double its lead on a Folk 28-yard field goal.
A 28-yard pass interference penalty on the Jets helped the Ravens advance into opposing territory on their next drive, but Antonio Cromartie picked off a pass inside the five and ran nearly 70 yards deep into Baltimore's area of the field. Two plays later, though, Shonn Greene fumbled the ball away.
The Ravens finally responded with a mistake-free drive to take the lead into halftime.
Flacco found T.J. Houshmandzadeh for 27 yards on 3rd-and-3 to gain the Jets' 42, and a pass interference in the end zone on another attempt to Houshmandzadeh put the ball on the one-yard line. Three plays later, McGahee scored with just seconds on the clock for a 7-6 lead.
Baltimore's offense clicked on its second series of the second half, as Billy Cundiff's 25-yard field goal made it a four-point game midway through the third. The series took 4 1/2 minutes on nine plays, highlighted by two long catches from Boldin totaling 65 yards.
The Jets punted on each of their first three second-half possessions, but good punts kept pinning the Ravens deep in their own zone. Early in the fourth, New York started with the ball on Baltimore's 35, but could manage only a 48-yard field goal from Folk for a 10-9 game with 10 1/2 minutes to play.
The Ravens lead the all-time series with the Jets, 6-1, and have won the last six. New York last beat Baltimore in 1997...Jets defensive tackle Kris Jenkins left the game in the first quarter with a knee injury...Flacco has won the opening game of the season in each of his first three seasons in the NFL. He is 21-12 overall as a starter...Baltimore managed just 49 yards on the ground and committed five penalties for 38 yards....The Ravens committed three turnovers, compared to one for the Jets...Baltimore held the ball for 37:56.
09/14 00:39:29 ET
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