Ravens 13, Jets 3
BALTIMORE (AP)—Ray Lewis ran through the tunnel, helmet in hand, yelling at his jubilant teammates as they headed for the locker room.
“That’s one!” the Baltimore Ravens linebacker shouted. “That’s one, baby!”
The Ravens won their first game of the season Sunday, and it didn’t matter one bit that the victim was a crippled New York Jets team using a third-string quarterback.
Coming off a bye after losing their first two games by a combined 49-17 score, the Ravens feel as if they’ve started the season anew.
“We’re 1-0 in our book,” said quarterback Anthony Wright, who was 15-for-21 for 144 yards.
For a third straight game, Baltimore managed only one touchdown. This time, however, it was more than enough offense to beat the sputtering Jets.
Baltimore (1-2) held Curtis Martin to 30 yards on 13 carries, and New York (1-3) made only six first downs and had 90 yards in offense through the first 56 minutes.
Playing in his second NFL game and first as a starter, Bollinger went 14-for-28 for 149 yards in place of injured starter Chad Pennington, who’s out for the season with a torn right rotator cuff. Backup Jay Fiedler also is out with a shoulder injury.
“We came in knowing we were going to struggle,” Jets coach Herman Edwards said. “But we’ve got to find a way to move the ball offensively.”
Bollinger finally started moving the Jets in the closing minutes. Taking over at his 18, he completed a 16-yard pass to Laveranues Coles and a 32-yarder to Justin McCareins. But New York turned the ball over on downs, and the Ravens ran out the clock.
The Jets finished with eight first downs and 152 yards.
“It’s frustrating. I can’t really put it into words. It’s tough,” Bollinger said. “I want to do well for these guys. I finally got an opportunity where I knew they were counting on me; it was my time to make a contribution. And I didn’t do enough for us to win today.”
The Ravens didn’t generate much offense either, but were at least able to unleash Jamal Lewis, who ran for a season-high 81 yards on 29 carries and scored his first touchdown of the season.
“Outstanding. Gutty. Tough,” coach Brian Billick said of Lewis, who had 57 yards in his first two games.
New York failed to score in the first half, partially because of Bollinger’s inexperience and a conservative game plan, but the Jets used their defense to close to 6-3 early in the third quarter.
David Barrett caused Lewis to fumble, and Victor Hobson took the ball 43 yards to the Baltimore 1. But two runs by Martin and a sweep by Bollinger lost 2 yards, forcing Edwards to summon Mike Nugent to kick a 21-yard field goal.
“That’s one of the most disappointing things of the day,” Bollinger said. “The (bootleg) we ran down there, I should have thrown that away. We ended up losing a couple of yards on it.”
The Ravens looked at the goal-line stand as proof that the defense was back in form after uneven performances against Indianapolis and Tennessee.
“We claim to be this great defense, but it was yet to be seen until today,” defensive end Terrell Suggs said.
The Ravens followed the Jets’ score with a 13-play, 71-yard drive that made it 13-3 late in the third quarter. Although Lewis handled the majority of the work, Wright completed an 11-yard pass to Derrick Mason and a 24-yarder to Todd Heap to set up a touchdown run by Jamal Lewis.
“It felt great,” he said. “I just found the hole and headed for the goal line.”
The Ravens used two field goals by Stover to take a 6-0 lead in a lackluster first half in which New York gained 37 yards on 20 offensive plays.
Stover kicked a 42-yard field goal on Baltimore’s second possession, giving the Ravens their first lead of the season.
The Jets, meanwhile, opened with a restrained attack that produced one first down and 25 yards in offense—all on the ground—in the first quarter. Bollinger completed his first pass with just over 10 minutes left in the second quarter, a short flip to Martin for 6 yards.
But that drive ended in another punt, and the Ravens used a 32-yard pass from Wright to Mason to set up a field goal.
Ravens DE Anthony Weaver dislocated a toe in the third quarter and is scheduled for an MRI on Monday. … Martin was hampered by a sore leg throughout the second half but continued to play. … The Ravens are 73-73-1 since beginning play in 1996.