Ravens with “hard knock” win over Jets

The Baltimore Ravens traveled up to the New Meadowlands Stadium to take on the Jets for the first Monday night football game and just barely walked away with a 10-9 win in a tough, uphill battle of a game full of penalties, but for once not against Baltimore.

In a game that pinned up one of the NFLs best defense in the Jets against a new NFL threat in the Ravens offense, this game was sure to be a “hard knock” one.

Jets defense proved that early on with a sack by Shaun Ellis on QB Joe Flacco, where Flacco lost the ball on the Ravens own 11-yard line. The well-known mighty Baltimore defense would hold back Jets QB Mark Sanchez and would only result in a 28-yard FG by Nick Folk.

But the Ravens, despite a  thinning defense, upheld against a Jets mediocre offense.

And Monday nights game came down to the Jets D and the Ravens new offense–and in the end it was number 81 in purple who helped bring home the win for Baltimore against a spotty Jets defense.

Anquan Boldin (81) made a major difference in Mondays game for the Ravens. Boldin had seven catches for 110 yards (21 in the first half, 89 in the second) and was a big part of converting third downs to firsts. Baltimore was 11 for 19 on 3rd down conversion, and Boldin was part of three of them as he always seemed one step ahead of the Jets Kyle Wilson.

Baltimore also doubled the Jets in time of possession, controlling the ball with an 38:32 to 21:28 advantage  despite being out-rushed 116 yards to 49.

Looking at those figures, Flacco should continue to look up and out for his new weapons and not rely on the running game.  Ray Rice (27) up the middle is going to be stopped by a strong defense as it was many times over last night.

But Willis McGahee (23) did push through the pack of green men with six seconds to go to score the solitary TD in the game, making the score 7-6 going into the second half (scoring play was an impressive 11 plays for 76 yards).

Some key plays in the second half helped bring the game winning ball to the Ravens with a leaping catch in the fourth quarter  by TE Todd Heap–coming up  big when the Ravens needed it to cinch the game. Heap received 6 catches for 72 yards on Monday.

And where would Baltimore be if Ray Lewis didn’t have at least one monster hit against his opponents?

The end would come with a pass from Sanchez to Dustin Keller catching on a fourth down but going out of bounds and not converting to a first down, ending the game 10-9 Baltimore.

But don’t put the Jets away just yet. Despite being on the losing end of Monday’s game, they are still a team to watch out for.  With Ladainian Tomlinson as the number eight all time rusher (acquired 62 yards in his Jets debut), all-pro  CB Darrelle Revis, WR Braylon Edwards and Cromartie (who also had a big interception in the first half despite not being able to keep up with Boldin), the Jets will most likely continue to “run their mouths” and will attempt to back it up.

Their defense is dirty and one to watch out for–but they need to clean it up a bit as they allowed five first downs due to penalties in Monday’s game. In the first half, they had 22 penalties costing them 100 yards, with a total of 14 penalties for 125 yards.  One of the worst penalties was for a wide receiver (B. Edwards) running into Baltimore kicker Billy Cundiff.

As for the Ravens, the offense proved to be exactly what Ozzie and the boys upstairs hoped when they did work in the off-season. With three of the best receivers on their team,they are sure to get frequent flier points with all the air they should get this season.

Derek Mason, Boldin and TJ Houshmandzadeh being on the same team make the Ravens the only team in the NFL with three receivers with 500 + career receptions. Mason: 863; Boldin: 588; TJ: 586.

Another key note: Baltimore is cleaning up its turnover and penalty reputation.  Even though there was a 3/1 t.o. ratio in the first half, keep in mind that last season the Ravens had the record for most yards lost in penalties (1,094).

Add that factor to the sloppy plays by the Jets, and it sure felt good to be the team to shut up the talkative Jets.

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