EAST RUTHERFORD NJ - SEPTEMBER 13: Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens runs against Bryan Thomas #58 of the New York Jets during their home opener at the New Meadowlands Stadium on September 13 2010 in East Rutherford New Jersey. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Jets Deliver More Talk Than Hard Knocks, Fall To Ravens 10-9

The Ravens and Jets put on a defensive clinic in their highly anticipated showdown. Unfortunately for New York, their copious penalties and offensive shortcomings proved more fatal than Baltimore's turnovers.

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Ravens Vs. Jets: New York's Anemic Final Drive Ends With Dustin Keller Mental Miscue

It seemed like the Ravens did the Jets a huge favor by trying to throw the ball on 3rd down in their last meaningful possession of the game. The incomplete pass by Joe Flacco left the Jets offense with about 1:40 on the clock and still one of their timeouts.

Of course, there was a reason why the Ravens felt like they could take that risk. Up until that point, the Jets had yet to convert a third down on offense and had fewer than 150 total yards.

Needing only a field goal to win, the Jets could get nothing but dump passes for minimal yardage, each of which kept the clock running. While they managed to make their only third down conversion of the game, the Jets ended up turning the ball over on downs when tight end Dustin Keller caught a ball running toward the sideline and neglecting to make an easy necessary stretch for a first down.

Keller had been blasted by Ray Lewis two plays earlier when Mark Sanchez tried to hit him over the middle near the first down mark. It's foolish to speculate whether he was still shaken up on the fourth down play, but his mistake was a huge one whatever the cause.

At this point, the Jets have to pin the hopes of an offensive improvement on receiver Santonio Holmes being added to the equation once his suspension is over after their fourth game. They certainly could have used him against Baltimore, as Holmes has something of a reputation of being a Ravens killer. He has scored a touchdown in each of his last seven meetings with the Ravens.

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VIDEO: Tom Zbikowski Demonstrates Everything Not To Do On A Punt Return

 

The only thing separating this almost disastrous punt return from this horrific display of football is that Tom Zbikowski neglected to throw the ball straight into the air as he was about to be tackled. Really, that's it.

Zbikowski nearly committed a game-changing boneheaded play on par with what Tashard Choice did on Sunday night to the Cowboys with a mental error that's inexcusable on any level of football.

Catching a punt in the corner of the field near his team's end zone, instead of simply going down, Zbikowski risked a safety or worse by running along his team's goal line, before just barely going down outside the end zone. It almost resulted in a go-ahead score, but Zbikowski's knee hit the ground before the ball came out of his possession.

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Ravens Vs. Jets: Kyle Wilson Not Quite Ready For Primetime

As the Jets continue to struggle on offense, it appears that the Ravens have just now found their stride. And they have done so in large part by picking on Jets rookie cornerback Kyle Wilson.

Wilson, who was the Jets first-round pick in this year's draft, was victimized for receptions by Anquan Boldin for 38 and 27 yards to set up a field goal that extended the Ravens lead to 10-6.

Wilson also committed a pass interference penalty covering T.J. Houshmandzadeh in the end zone that set up the Ravens touchdown at the end of the first half.

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Ravens Vs. Jets: Penalties And Third Down Conversions Key Baltimore Touchdown

Willis McGahee plunged into the end zone on 3rd and goal with less than a minute left in the first half to give the Ravens their first lead of the game.

The Ravens looked to have ended their drive earlier with a Billy Cundiff field goal, but Braylon Edwards was called for a roughing the kicker penalty on the play, giving the Ravens another first down. Three plays later, Kyle Wilson was called for a 22-yard pass interference penalty on a 3rd and 10 while covering T.J. Houshmandzadeh in the end zone. After McGahee was stuffed on first down and Joe Flacco badly missed a wide open Le'Ron McClain on second, McGahee was able to break through for a score.

At halftime, the Jets have only 84 yards of total offense while accruing 100 yards in penalties. Each side has its own favored type of mistake. The Ravens have turned the ball over three times while the Jets repeatedly damage themselves with careless penalties.

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Ravens Vs. Jets: All The Ugliness You Would Expect

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The Jets and Ravens have played the kind of grinding game for which announcers lovingly employ the smashmouth football cliche. Each team has shown the ability to move the ball, but have hamstrung drives either with turnovers or costly penalties.

The Ravens lost the ball on fumbles on each of the team's first two possessions. The first was a fumble by Joe Flacco on the team's first snap when Flacco held the ball too long in the face of a Jets blitz. The second was on a strip of Willis McGahee when it looked after as though the Ravens were going to get on the scoreboard at the end of a nine-plus minute drive.

The Jets got a 32-yard punt return by Jim Leonhard and were aided by a 15-yard personal foul penalty on Jameel McClain to set up their second field goal. The Jets, however, are currently 0-for-4 on third down conversions thus far and just missed getting a first down inside the Ravens 20, but Mark Sanchez started his slide too early on a 3rd down scramble looking for a first down.

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Ravens Vs. Jets: Kris Jenkins Leaves Game With Knee Injury

Jets nose tackle Kris Jenkins rolled backward over his left leg in the first quarter of the Monday night game against the Ravens and had to leave the game. 

On a run by Le'Ron McClain on the Ravens second offensive possession, Jenkins had his left leg caught in the turf, only to be knocked backwards by teammate Bart Scott.

Jenkins was able to walk off the field under his own power, albeit gingerly. He is listed as questionable to return, according to Jason La Canfora.

UPDATE: Jenkins return to the game has since been ruled out.

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Ravens Vs. Jets: Joe Flacco Fumbles On First Snap; Jets Settle For Field Goal

Joe Flacco might have a bunch of new receiving weapons at his disposal this season, but none of that will matter if he's can't get rid of the ball. On his first dropback of the game, Flacco fumbled after being hit on a blitz.

The Jets, despite inheriting the ball with a short field inside the Ravens 20, were unable to get a first down and were forced to settle for a field goal to take a 3-0 lead.

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Ravens Vs. Jets: Start Delayed By Weather To 7:25

The Jets will have to wait about 30 minutes longer to play their first regular season game at the New Meadowlands Stadium. The start of their Monday Night Football game against the Ravens has been delayed until 7:25 p.m. because of lightning.

At 5:50 p.m., the field and the stands were cleared because of thunderstorms. By the originally scheduled start of 7 p.m., players were back on the field and fans were back in the stands.

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Ravens Vs. Jets: The Battle Of AFC Powerhouses

The Ravens and Jets will get together for Monday Night Football in what many are calling the best game of the week.

If you looked at Super Bowl predictions from across the league, you'll see a lot of folks picking each of these teams to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.

The Ravens are returning with a revamped offense. They added Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh to give Joe Flacco a few more weapons. Their defense is solid, as usual, and will finally be aided by a good offense. Flacco has shown in the playoffs over the last two years that he can win on the road so you can't expect the New York crowd to intimidate him too much.

The Jets are entering this game with heavy expectations. Rex Ryan has spent the offseason hyping his team as the next Super Bowl champions. GM Mike Tannenbaum spent the offseason trying to back up Ryan's words by adding guys like Antonio Cromartie, LaDainian Tomlinson and Santonio Holmes.

The game will be played at the New Meadowlands Stadium, the Jets (and Giants) new $1.6 billion stadium.

Kickoff is at 7:00 p.m. Your SB Nation blogs for the evening will be Baltimore Beatdown and Gang Green Nation.

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