With Steve McNair on the shelf with a groin injury, it was the much maligned Kyle Boller who led the Ravens to their first victory of the season. Boller had arguably his finest game as a Raven, tossing 2 TD passes while not being sacked nor turning the ball over even once. While the score did not turn out to be as lopsided as we had predicted here at the Nest, there was a point in the game where a 27-6 final score looked to be much MUCH more likely than the numbers that adorned the scoreboard when the last whistle blew. Leading 20-3 entering the 4th quarter, the good guys in purple and black looked well on their way to cruising to a blowout of the J-E-T-S. However, the 4th quarter belonged to New York, as they clawed their way back in it before the B-More defense FINALLY put the clamps on the Jets hopes with just over a minute remaining.
After scoring a TD with 3:12 on the clock, the Ravens were able to recover the Jets attempted onside kick, as Derrick Mason wisely swatted the bouncing ball out of bounds. The Ravens promptly reverted to their old ways though, and went a quick 3-and-out. The Jets then proceeded to march the length of the field, helped by some bad tackling, missed assignments, and bone-headed penalties. Luckily for us Raven fans, however, Justin McCareins twice let balls slip out of his hands; balls that, had he caught, would have undoubtedly put him in the end zone, and put matching 20s on the scoreboard. Also luckily for Raven fans, there was no leftover “Stick-em” to be found on the Jets sideline left over from the filming of “The Replacements” at M&T Bank Stadium 8 years ago, otherwise after the first “whoops!” coach Man-Genius would have slobbed up ol’ Justin’s hands with the stuff like his name was Clifford Franklin and Mangini was basting John Madden’s Thanksgiving Tur-dur-ken.
After getting inside 5 yards of tying the game despite the spate of dropsies, Jets QB Kellen Clemens final pass of the day actually WAS caught, just not by anybody wearing green. Ray Lewis picked Clemens off in the back of the end zone and sealed the victory for Baltimore. For 3 quarters Sunday the Ravens looked dominant, only to let off in the 4th quarter and nearly blow a 17 point lead at home, which would have been disastrous. We have to hope that the real Ravens are the ones we saw in quarters 1-3, and not the 4th quarter version.
We would like to take a second to point out what terrible luck Kyle Boller has. On a day where he plays extremely well, 2 things happen that are completely uncharacteristic of this team, both of which could have robbed Kyle of a well-deserved win. First off, Mr. Automatic Matt Stover misses a very makable 46 yard field goal. 3 points off the board. Then, the Raven’s D completely implodes in the waning minutes of the game, letting an inferior team with an inexperienced, battered-all-day-long quarterback nearly erase a 17 point deficit. These are things that don’t happen every (Sun)day here in Ravenstown, and it needs to be mentioned here. Because we all know, had the Jets tied the game and forced overtime, and somehow managed to get out of B-More with a win this week, FAR too many of you would find a way to blame Kyle Boller. You know its true. Get off his back. While we are certainly not saying we want to see Kyle in at QB for the next 14 games, Ravens fans can rest a bit easier knowing that if Steve McNair comes down with any more bumps and bruises this season, we have probably the BEST backup quarterback situation in the NFL. And that can never hurt.