The New York Jets celebrated their first regular-season game in a new $1.6 billion stadium with flags. Penalty flags.
The Jets committed 14 penalties costing them 125 yards as they lost to the Baltimore Ravens 10-9 last night to open their National Football League season in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Coach Rex Ryan said the penalties crippled the team’s defensive effort.
“That’s not who we are,” he said after the game. “That’s not how we play. We pride ourselves on being one of the least-penalized defenses in the league. Today was a joke.”
The Jets defense started well. Jets defenders Shaun Ellis and Bryan Thomas hit Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco as he faded back on the first play of the season, forcing a fumble and setting up a 23-yard field goal that put New York ahead 3-0.
The defense then stalled the Ravens at third down with 28 yards to go when a holding call on Jets cornerback Kyle Wilson gave Baltimore a first down.
The offense didn’t fare much better. In the second quarter, an illegal shift by receiver Braylon Edwards negated a 33-yard throw from quarterback Mark Sanchez to tight end Dustin Keller. Edwards also ran into the Ravens’ field goal kicker in the second quarter, giving Baltimore a chance -- after a pass interference call on Wilson moved the Ravens 22 yards to New York’s one yard-line -- to score a touchdown instead.
“These are the things we prepare not to do, and we went out and did them,” Edwards said.
Cornerback Antonio Cromartie was flagged for pass interference on another Baltimore third down, allowing the Ravens to advance 28 yards. In the third quarter, a holding call on Cromartie helped the Ravens convert another third down. Cromartie finished with four penalties for 43 yards.
“They made the calls, I’ve got to go in and make the corrections,” Cromartie said.
Ryan, who worked as defensive coordinator for the Ravens before joining the Jets in 2009, said he was more concerned about the penalties and the Ravens’ ability to convert 11 of 19 third down attempts than he was by the Jets’ lack of offense, which was hampered by Baltimore’s “excellent defense.”
The Jets attack converted one of 11 third down attempts and failed to score a touchdown even with two trips inside the Ravens’ 20 yard-line.
Ryan said he expects championship-level play from his defense. That unit led the club to within a game of the Super Bowl last season by restricting opponents to a league-low 252.3 yards a week.
“We pride ourselves on playing great defense, physical defense, but you can’t have those penalties,” he said. “You have to be smarter than that.”