RAVENS 20-JETS 13
By Richard Adragna
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
September 16th, 2007
With both their regular starting quarterbacks on the sidelines, the New York Jets and the Baltimore Ravens did battle at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday with completely different faces calling the signals for them. One quarterback was making his first career start. The other was the former full-time starter for his team. Guess which one came through?
Kellen Clemens, hailed by Jets fans as the heir to the injured Chad Pennington’s throne, didn’t help his cause as he was ineffective and clearly rattled by both the Ravens’ highly-touted defense and the thousands of noisy purple-clad lunatics in attendance as the Jets suffered a demoralizing 20-13 loss. He was 19-for-37 for 260 yards and a touchdown. He also, however, threw two interceptions, had another pass nearly picked off and ran into the end zone and was sacked four times However, it was the fighting spirit in the Jets that nearly got them close to Baltimore near the end.
“I’m really proud of the way they fought,” said head coach Eric Mangini. “It’s a team that works hard and fights, but we need to be able to consistently play that level throughout the whole game.”
“The fourth quarter offensively was our best quarter,” said Clemens. “We went to a no-huddle and we made some plays. It got us back in the game and we had a shot down the stretch.”
Kyle Boller, his Ravens counterpart, was the exact opposite, going 23-for-35 for 185 yards and two touchdowns. He threw no picks, and was not sacked at all. His performance was a stark contrast to his many underachieving ones when he was the Ravens’ full-time starter.
Both defenses held their ground in the beginning until Boller threw a two yard pass to Willis McGahee for a touchdown. McGahee would be limited in his rushing game as he ran for only 97 yards, a stark contrast to his past performances against New York.
“We did a good job,” said Vilma. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get the victory.”
The Jets offense did not factor at the beginning of the first quarter, which including Clemens being intercepted by Ed Reed. They did gain some momentum at the end of the quarter thanks to a 21 yard pass to Thomas Jones to get Gang Green into Ravens territory. However, that momentum faded when the second quarter began, as they were unable to go any further and settled for a Mike Nugent field goal to make it 7-3. Unfortunately that was all the Jets could muster in the first half, as Nugent’s next attempt went wide left.
The special teams nightmare that haunted the Jets in Week One nearly repeated itself when Yamon Figurs took a route identical to Ellis Hobbs’ and returned the kickoff for 61 yards. That play set up a drive that ended with a Matt Stover field goal to make it 10-3 Ravens. Surely, irony was on hand in the Inner Harbor. Coach Mangini, though, blames it on the bad coverage the kickoff team provided.
“I think it was poorly covered,” he said. “We’re going to address the coverage this week and we’re going to get eleven guys that are going to cover kickoffs. It doesn’t matter who it is.”
The Ravens capped the first half when Boller threw a four yard pass to Todd Heap for a score, making it 17-3. The Jets offense in the first half gained only 69 yards in total offense, three first downs, and never touched the red zone.
Both offenses did not do much in the third quarter, but the Ravens did make a couple of huge statements. Jerome Sapp and Dawan Landry sacked Clemens back-to-back on second and third downs, respectively. In the beginning of the fourth quarter, a Matt Stover field goal gave the Ravens a 20-3 lead.
During the Jets’ first drive in the fourth, they nearly got a scare when Thomas Jones fumbled the ball after a big gain. Luckily for him, Adrien Clarke fell on the pigskin to keep the drive alive. They did manage to get deep inside the five yard line, but came away with only three points on a Mike Nugent field goal.
The end of the day showed promise for Gang Green as they marched down to the Ravens’ one yard line. And for the first time this afternoon, the Jets cashed in with a Chris Baker touchdown that stood after a Baltimore challenge. With that the Ravens’ lead was now 20-13.
Gang Green got another chance with 2:38 to go in the game. Jerricho Cotchery got things started with a 50-yard reception on the first play. Justin McCareins, though, didn’t do Clemens any favors when he dropped a sure touchdown pass short of the end zone. A delay of game penalty didn’t help their cause either as they were put on the 37 yard line. A defensive holding penalty on Baltimore, however, gave them another chance, but Laveranues Coles dropped a sure touchdown catch in the end zone. Coles made up for that mistake with an acrobatic catch inside the ten. However, McCareins botched a Clemens pass and it was intercepted by Ray Lewis to seal Gang Green’s fate.
“We’re a team with a lot of pride,” said LB Victor Hobson. “We’ve always had pride and we always will. We’re never going to give up. We’re going to keep fighting no matter what the score is.”
It was a beautiful day in Baltimore for a football game. For the Jets, however, it got ugly from the get-go, and they never recovered from it.
Strange, isn’t it?
Irony reared its ugly ahead in the final drive when Laveranues Coles made an acrobatic catch and was pushed out by Ravens defenders for a first down. It was reviewed later, and it was determined that the play was reviewed only on if Coles maintained possession after the push-out. He did.
Last season in Cleveland, the Jets had a similar play happen to them when a receiver was pushed out of the end zone after he made a leaping catch. However, the reviews stated that the receiver did not hang on to the ball, which cost the Jets a touchdown.
With Chad Pennington and Steve McNair unavailable for the day, both the Jets and Ravens depended on their back-ups to play well and be capable, and were they ever. Boller threw two touchdown passes and wasn’t intercepted or sacked in the whole game. Clemens, however, had a very rocky start to his day, but he got it together to lead two drives in the waning minutes of the game.
“As the game grew on, I got more and more comfortable,” said Clemens. “My play in the first half was not what it should’ve been. By the second half, things slowed down a little bit and I calmed down.”
Miller, Cotchery Injured
During a kickoff return in the second quarter, Justin Miller injured his knee on the play and never returned for the rest of the game.
Jerricho Cotchery was injured during the team’s final drive and was helped off the field. Although banged up, he made some catches to get the Jets a chance to tie the game up.
Does This Look Familiar to You?
Kellen Clemens was nearly sacked on second down during Jets’ final offensive possession. However, the Ravens defender only lightly touched him, allowing Clemens to scramble around before throwing the ball away.
This play was nearly reminiscent of the infamous soft touch sack attempt of Giants DL Mattias Kiwanuka on Titans QB Vince Young.
The only difference? It was the end result, which was not so favorable for the Jets on Sunday.
The following players were inactive in today’s game.
New York Jets
QB Marques Tuiasosopo, S Abram Elam, CB Drew Coleman, TE Joe Kowalewski, LB Cody Spencer, DE Mike DeVito, OL Jacob Bender, TE Jason Pociask
K Rhys Lloyd, QB Troy Smith, CB David Pittman, RB Cory Ross, RB Mike Anderson, T Jonathan Ogden, TE Daniel Wilcox, OLB Edgar Jones
Miami On Deck
With Baltimore now behind them, the Jets will return home to the Meadowlands still looking for their first win and a chance to atone for their previous sins as they take on the division rival Dolphins.