McGahee TD helps Ravens to 10-6 lead through 3
Willis McGahee squeaked into the end zone from 1 yard out with 6 seconds left in the first half, helping the Baltimore Ravens head into the fourth quarter with a 10-6 lead over the New York Jets in the teams' season opener Monday night.
Billy Cundiff made a 46-yard field goal with just over a minute left in the second quarter, but Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards was called for running into the kicker. Ravens coach John Harbaugh chose to accept the penalty and leave his offense on the field.
After two incompletions toward T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Joe Flacco again threw to his newest receiver into the end zone - and rookie Kyle Wilson was called for pass interference.
After McGahee ran for no gain and Flacco overthrew Le'Ron McClain, McGahee scooted over the goal line for the lead that capped an 11-play drive.
The Jets had led 6-0 to that point on two field goals by Nick Folk, but it was a sloppy first half for New York, which was called for 10 penalties that cost New York 100 yards.
New York appeared to seize momentum before the Ravens' scoring drive when Antonio Cromartie picked off Flacco and returned it 66 yards - helped by two huge blocks by Darrelle Revis and Bart Scott - to give the Jets the ball at the Ravens 31.
But, two plays later, Shonn Greene fumbled after a 2-yard gain and gave the Ravens the ball.
Cundiff made it 10-6 by kicking a 25-yard field goal midway through the third quarter. The drive was helped by catches of 38 and 27 yards by Anquan Boldin, both against Wilson.
Baltimore outgained New York 205-91 at that point, and had 15 first downs compared to the Jets' three.
Folk got the Jets on the board with a 23-yarder 4:06 into the game that was set up by Rex Ryan's aggressive defense.
Shaun Ellis and Bryan Thomas sacked Flacco on the Ravens' first possession, knocking the ball loose. Sione Pouha recovered to give the Jets the ball at the Ravens 11.
After a 2-yard run by LaDainian Tomlinson, a 4-yard catch by Dustin Keller and an incomplete pass toward Edwards, Folk gave the Jets the lead 4:06 into the game.
The Ravens were driving on their next possession when Vernon Gholston stripped McGahee of the ball, and Pouha recovered his second fumble of the game.
Jets defensive tackle Kris Jenkins left the game during that drive after hurting his left knee. The 10-year veteran, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in the same knee midway through last season, was caught in a pileup on a tackle of McClain. Jenkins immediately clutched his left knee and remained on the turf for a few minutes, then got up and limped to the sideline. He was ruled out for the game.
Folk kicked a 28-yarder with 8:16 left in the first half, giving New York 6-0 lead.
The Jets could have had more on the drive, when Keller caught a long pass from Mark Sanchez to put the ball near the goal line. But, an illegal shift by Edwards negated the play.
The start was delayed 25 minutes because of lightning. It marked the first regular-season game for the Jets at the $1.6 billion New Meadowlands Stadium, which they share with the Giants.
The Giants opened the season on Sunday with a 31-18 victory over Carolina.
It was Ryan's first game as Jets coach against the Ravens, the team he was hired away from following the 2008 season after 10 years as an assistant, including the last four as the defensive coordinator.
Ryan and Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis engaged in some trash-talk during the week, with the Baltimore star taking exception to his former coach's big talk about New York's Super Bowl hopes.
There was a little chippiness right before the game, too, as Baltimore's Ray Rice and Ellis were woofing at each other around midfield. Rice tossed the ball he was holding toward Ellis' head, and Scott grabbed the ball and zinged it toward Rice as he was jogging away.
It's been a tumultuous week for the Jets, the stars of HBO's ''Hard Knocks'' this summer. They are being investigated by the NFL for how they treated a female television reporter at practice at Saturday. The league is also looking into a claim by an unidentified team that a workout session put together by Sanchez violated offseason rules because Ryan and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer attended some of the practices.
The game also marked the return of Revis, who signed a four-year deal, ending 36-day holdout a week before opener. He was in the Jets starting lineup.
Tomlinson, Cromartie and Jason Taylor, high-profile acquisitions during the offseason for the Jets, made their debuts.