Ravens edge Jets in a sloppy opener
The Jets intrigued audiences in the preseason with their no-holds-barred, behind-the-scenes TV show, but it was the Ravens who grabbed the spotlight Monday night. They held New York to 176 yards, six first downs, allowed Mark Sanchez just 74 yards passing and kept Rex Ryan’s crew out of the end zone.
For those urging the Jets to put up or shut up, well, it was Baltimore that produced most of the highlights in a sloppy opener of New York’s new home. The $1.6 billion New Meadowlands Stadium rocked with J-E-T-S chants, then the Ravens rocked Ryan’s defense with enough big plays to silence the crowd of 78,127—if not the talkative coach and his players.
“They beat us in every statistical category there is except turnovers,” Ryan said.
And not even a 3-1 edge in that department could help the Jets.
Billy Cundiff’s 25-yard field goal in the third quarter provided the winning points, with Anquan Boldin, Baltimore’s main offseason acquisition, gaining 65 yards on two passes against first-round draft pick Kyle Wilson. Boldin made the kind of impact the Ravens sought with seven receptions overall for 110 yards, at times toying with the Jets’ vaunted secondary.
So did tight end Todd Heap, who caught six passes from a cool Joe Flacco for 72 yards.
New York’s six first downs tied a franchise-low set in 1976.
“We weren’t at our best today,” Ryan said, “but that’s a credit to the Ravens.”
NFL head stands by call
The NFL is standing behind how a buzz-creating call was handled in Sunday’s Detroit-Chicago game which nullified a touchdown by Lions receiver Calvin Johnson.
“What we try to do with any rule is eliminate the gray area,” NFL vice president of officiating Carl Johnson said.
Calvin Johnson leaped for a catch and got two feet and a knee in the end zone before the football hit the ground and he let it go. It was ruled incomplete, allowing the Bears to hold on for a 19-14 win Sunday.
Referee Gene Steratore said after the game that the receiver had to maintain possession of the ball throughout the entire process of the catch, and his boss backed him up the next day.
“I am extremely pleased how it was handled,” Carl Johnson said. “I was watching it here in the command center, and am proud of the way our guys handled it.”
Carl Johnson, though, wasn’t surprised by the uproar.
“It reminds me of the tuck rule, which a lot of people didn’t know,” he said. “But it was properly ruled on the field. Now it is a nonevent because the fans know it.
“Now we can further educate the fans and media on what the proper requirements are for a catch.”
Schwartz refused to criticize the call made by the officials on the field or give his opinion about the rule.
“It really doesn’t matter, technically, what we think,” he said.
Johnson wasn’t in the locker room when reporters had access to it Monday, but running back Kevin Smith insisted the ruling wasn’t a topic of conversation among his teammates.
“No one cares,” Smith said. “It’s over.”
AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner in New York and AP Sports Writer Mark Long in Jacksonville, Fla., contributed to this report.