It was a frightful night for the Jets offense tonight in Baltimore. A month before Halloween and with the Ravens dressed in all black, the hosts tormented the visitors with four takeaways of Mark Sanchez — three of which were returned for touchdowns in a 34-17 Ravens triumph.
Without ailing C Nick Mangold, the Jets’ first offensive snap started the horrors. Rookie Colin Baxter got the ball back to Sanchez without any problems, but the third-year QB was given an unwelcome greeting from All-Everything S Ed Reed. LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson blocked Terrell Suggs on his inside rush, leaving Reed a free line to Sanchez. Reed knocked the ball out and ILB Jameel McClain scooped up the loose change for an easy 6-yard score.
“The protection is supposed to pick that one up,” Sanchez said. “We just had a miscue and Ed made a great play, coming off the edge on the weak side. That’s stuff we have to account for and we will moving forward.”
Down just 10-7, Baxter and Sanchez couldn’t complete a clean snap on the Jets’ second possession. Fortunately Shonn Green recovered, but the damage was just delayed. Baxter appeared to get a decent toss to Sanchez in the shotgun early in the second, but the latter couldn’t hang on and LB Paul Kruger recovered at the Jets’ 23. Four plays later, the Ravens made it a 20-7 game on Billy Cundiff’s 38-yard field goal.
Then the Jets went to their emergency plan up front, shifting LG Matt Slauson over to C, removing Baxter from the lineup and inserting Vladimir Ducasse to LG. Haloti Ngata briefly received double-team attention from Ferguson and Ducasse on the outside, but Ngata got free around the end and got another blindside shot on Sanchez. This one was vicious and resulted in another scoop and score as OLB Jarrett Johnson went in from 26 yards out. The game was almost out of hand at 27-7.
But somewhat remarkably, the Green & White still were in the thick of things early in the third. Bolstered by a pair of return touchdowns themselves, the score was 27-17 and Aaron Maybin’s first career sacks and a subsequent Marcus Dixon fumble recovery should have had the Jets at business at the Ravens’ 26. With Baxter back at center this time, Sanchez went play action and fired a ball out to Santonio Holmes. It never got there as CB Lardarius Webb jumped the route, intercepted and ran for an easy 73-yard TD.
“I’m turning my back to the defense and they had a pretty good call on,” Sanchez said. “I’m trying to get the ball out. At the end of the day, you just sail it out of bounds. But they made a pretty good play on it. They had a pretty good scheme for it. There are no excuses for interceptions. You can’t have them — especially in that situation. You either take the sack or try to throw it of bounds.”
Sanchez had one of his toughest nights as a pro, completing 11 of 35 for 119 yards with a 30.5 passer rating and taking a number of licks in the process. He has thrown six TDs this season, but his overall turnover total stamds at nine because he’s lost four fumbles and has been intercepted five times.
“He struggled mightily,” said head coach Rex Ryan of Sanchez. “There’s no question about it… It wasn’t his best day — that’s for sure. But he’s our quarterback and I believe in him.”
As expected, the Jets struggled to get much on the ground as Shonn Greene was the club’s leading rusher with 23 yards on 10 carries .
A sliver of good news is the Jets will face off against a beleaguered Patriots defense in Week 5. Also in his postgame news conference, Ryan indicated Mangold might be back in the lineup for the huge divisional clash.
“He’s getting better guys and I’m hopeful he’ll play this weekend,” Ryan said of the player who made the trip but was held out with a high ankle sprain.
Tags: Baltimore Ravens, Ed Reed, Haloti Ngata, Jameel McClain, Jarret Johnson, Larderius Webb, Mark Sanchez, Matt Slauson, Nick Mangold, Vladimir Ducasse
Posted in Eric Allen | 146 Comments »