I went to Baltimore, Maryland, to see the New York Jets face the Baltimore Ravens in a Sunday night showdown at M&T Bank Stadium and on NBC nationally. I went down a day early to catch up with some great friends, and had an opportunity to see some football and meet some energetic Jets fans at a bar named Pickle’s Pub Sunday afternoon. There were dozens of Jets fans in the bar and in the city of Baltimore that brought a lot of energy to the city. Unfortunately, the New York Jets didn’t bring the same energy to the city.
After stopping the first Baltimore Ravens possession to begin the game, Ravens future Hall of Famer and Free Safety Ed Reed came on a blitz from the blind side, sacking Mark Sanchez and forcing a fumble that was recovered by linebacker Jameel McClain, who picked up the ball and ran six yards for the touchdown.
On the very next play, kick returner Joe McKnight ran it back for a touchdown, tying the game at seven apiece. Things would go downhill from here. The Ravens would go on to score the next 20 points unanswered, on a three-yard touchdown by New York native and Rutgers University alum, running back Ray Rice, a 26-yard fumble return for a touchdown by linebacker Jarret Johnson, and two Billy Cundiff field goals of 38 yards.
The New York Jets defense would answer back with a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown with 6:17 left in the first half, and Jets place kicker Nick Folk would nail one from 40 yards to send the Jets into the locker room down 10, 27-17.
After punting on their first possession, the Jets offense got the ball on the Baltimore 27 after the Jets recovered a Ravens fumble, but on the first offensive play, Mark Sanchez would throw an interception to corner back Ladarius Webb that would essentially end the game.
After the 34-17 loss, the team was down, but still confident. “The reality is we are one game out of first place” Mark Sanchez said after the game. Jets head coach Rex Ryan remained confident. “We’ve had had one worse than this one believe it or not. We’re the men for the job, we’ll get it fixed.”
How? The Oakland Raiders exposed the lack of team speed at the linebacker position, and the offensive line can’t protect Mark Sanchez. These aren’t fixable problems during the season.
“A big part of our game is getting Ray (Rice) singled up underneath, and that’s kind of what happened on that play and we just went from there” said Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco in his 52-yard catch.”
With the New England Patriots next on the schedule, the Jets face suffering a third-consecutive loss, and seem far from the Super Bowl contending team many thought they would be when the NFL season began. A win against the New England Patriots wouldn’t exactly bring back those Super Bowl thoughts, but it is a key step needed if the Jets are going to get back to that level.