After almost eight months of free agent acquisitions galore, grandiose Super Bowl predictions, and an appearance on HBO's Hard Knocks that featured head coach Rex Ryan's bold and highly-opinionated commentary, what would the New York Jets do for an encore in their 2010 season opener against the Baltimore Ravens?
Nothing. Well, next to nothing.
"Obviously it's a very disappointing loss—that goes without saying."
Despite committing a holding penalty that led to a Ravens first-and-goal to go situation, Darrelle Revis looked sharp. Antonio Cromartie intercepted his first pass as a Jet, taking it deep into Ravens' territory with a nice 66-yard return. Shaun Ellis and David Harris contributed by forcing two Ravens fumbles, both of which were recovered by backup nose tackle Sione Pouha (who along with Mike DeVito, filled in admirably for the once-again injured Kris Jenkins).
The offense? That was a completely different story.
Behind QB Mark Sanchez, the Jets were limited to six first downs (tied for fewest in team history), 60 passing yards (fewest since 2006), and 44 total plays (fewest since 2005). Sanchez completed a mere 10-21 passes for 74 yards. For those glass half-full people, at least he didn't throw an interception.
Shonn Greene was equally unimpressive in his debut as the Jets' featured running back, rushing 5 times for a grand total of 18 yards and 2 fumbles lost.
LaDainian Tomlinson fared a bit better, as he had 11 carries for 62 yards.
Not exactly ground and pound by any stretch of the imagination.
Special teams played a solid game as well, with kicker Nick Folk booting three field goals (23, 28, 48) and Jim Leonhard looking good on punt returns. Punter Steve Weatherford managed to pin the Ravens deep at their own 3-yard line thanks to some heads-up coverage by Marquice Cole. Even Vernon Gholston made a tackle.
The Jets evening came to an end when Sanchez completed his last pass of the game- a 9-yard toss to tight end Dustin Keller. Unfortunately for the Jets and their fans, the pass was completed on fourth-and-10 with 0:36 seconds left.
Hard Knocks is over and if tonight's game was any indication, head coach Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer have a lot of work to do if they are to right the offensive ship before it becomes the NFL's version of the Titanic.
In the meantime, somewhere within the visitor's locker room of New Meadowlands Stadium, Ravens' linebacker Ray Lewis is probably flashing a broad grin as he fights the urge to send another, four-word message to Ryan and the rest of the New York Jets trash-talking squad members:
I told you so.
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