Jaguars use revitalized Blake Bortles, smothering defense to cruise past Ravens
LONDON (AP) — Jalen Ramsey knew the Baltimore Ravens were considered to have one of the better defenses in the NFL. Five turnovers in consecutive games to open the season will earn a team that reputation.
But Ramsey, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ second-year cornerback, also knew his team could be a physically imposing, dominating unit.
“We aren’t really worried about the external things too much, but to say that it didn’t motivate us — it did,” said Ramsey, who had one of two interceptions in the Jaguars’ 44-7 victory over the Ravens on Sunday at Wembley Stadium.
“We kind of wanted to set the record straight that we’ve got something special over here, too, in the secondary and really in whole defense. We kind of wanted to go show it, and so we did.”
Jacksonville (2-1) held the Ravens to 186 yards of total offense, including 15 in the first half, and only 12 first downs.
The Jags also largely corralled a Baltimore ground game that entered Sunday averaging 146.5 yards per game. Although the Ravens (2-1) finished with 134 rushing yards, they picked up 78 in the fourth quarter, when the outcome was not in doubt.
“One thing you know I’m not going to do is sit here and finger point,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “As a team, we didn’t get the job done: coaches, players, anybody. We got outplayed. We have to move on and find a way to play better next week.”
Jacksonville, which allowed 203 yards in a victory over the Houston Texans in Week 1, then 390 yards in a loss to the Tennessee Titans last week, will visit the New York Jets on Sunday. It’s the first time in their five years of playing games at Wembley that the Jaguars won’t have their bye week immediately afterward. Ramsey said he expects the message among defensive players all week to be centered on consistency.
“We’ve got a game next week,” he said. “We’ve got to go up to New York and we hope to do the same thing. We’ve got to shift gears, lock in a little bit, grind this week and try to do the same thing.”
Some more things we learned in the Jaguars’ victory over the Ravens:
A BOOST FOR BORTLES
Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles completed 20 of 31 passes for 244 yards, four touchdowns, and finished with a 128.2 passer rating, the second-highest of his career.
He attributed the success to the plays called by offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who wanted to emphasize a short passing game and make sure the Jaguars were always facing manageable third downs.
“Last week, I thought that we just put ourselves in bad situations,” Bortles said. “… I think as long as we can take care of the things we can control, take care of the football, kind of let our defense play the way they played today, we’re going to be all right.”
Flacco rued that Baltimore’s stagnant offense wasn’t able to help its defense. The Ravens’ three longest drives were their last three.
“We couldn’t complete a pass … and we couldn’t complete third downs. And then we left our defense on the field and (the Jaguars) were scoring touchdowns. And before you know it the game is out of hand, and you’ve got to change your game plan a little bit.”
A HISTORY LESSON
Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs, who played in his 200th career regular-season game, expressed hope his teammates will learn from the loss.
“From one of our great presidents: `Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan,'” he said, repeating a quote popularized by John F. Kennedy. “The unfortunate thing about failure is you learn more from failure than you do ever from succeeding, so we’re going to learn from this.”
SAFE AT HOME
If history is any indication, the Ravens might bounce back quickly from their loss. They host the Pittsburgh Steelers, whom they have not lost to at home since 2012, on Sunday in their next game.
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