Ravens Frustrate Mark Sanchez in 24-23 Win Over Jets


August 24, 2009

Ravens Frustrate Mark Sanchez in 24-23 Win Over Jets BALTIMORE — Once he gains
experience, New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez will probably become
more comfortable and confident in the pocket.

And, if the rookie is looking for a real positive, there's this: He won't have to face the Baltimore Ravens again this year.

Vying to become the Jets starter,
Sanchez got off to a wretched start Monday night and finished with a
flourish in a 24-23 preseason loss.

Starting for the first time, Sanchez
handed off the ball on the game's opening play from scrimmage. Then he
forced a pass while being hit in the stomach by middle linebacker Ray
. The ball was intercepted by Haloti Ngata, who rumbled 25 yards
for a touchdown to make it 7-0 with 52 seconds elapsed.

"Not obviously the way you want to
start. I thought I was doing the right thing; I felt Ray come free on
the right side from the protection," Sanchez said. "I was checking it
down to the flat, perfect. Haloti just jumped right in front of the
ball and made a really athletic play."

Sanchez nearly had his second pass
picked off, too. On his final play, however, the first-round draft pick
threw his first NFL touchdown pass — a 19-yarder to running back Leon
with 5:50 left in the second quarter.

Drafted fifth overall out of Southern
California, Sanchez went 3 for 8 for 43 yards. He didn't experience
success until the Ravens removed several players from the first-team
defense, including Lewis and safety Ed Reed.

Jets first-year head coach Rex Ryan
spent the previous 10 years building the Baltimore defense, but there
was no way he could fully explain to Sanchez the experience of going up
against the wickedly effective unit.

"You put a young guy like Sanchez in
there and you see our defense, it can be difficult," Lewis said. "You
saw his eyes get big, and he was jumping around in the pocket. Bottom
line: We gave a lot of looks and disguises and we confused him a little

To say the least.

"Oh, they were flying. They were
flying around," Sanchez said. "You practice for it and you see it on
film. These guys were doing it. You're trying to keep one eye on Ed
Reed and one eye on Ray Lewis and a D-lineman gets you."

Long after Sanchez departed,
third-string quarterback Erik Ainge scored on a sneak with 22 seconds
left to get the Jets to 24-23. Ryan called for a 2-point conversion
that failed.

Kellen Clemens, who started New
York's other exhibition game, was 5 for 10 for 60 yards. Like Sanchez,
he had an interception returned for a touchdown and threw a TD pass (a
28-yarder to David Clowney in the third quarter).

The Ravens looked forward to seeing
Ryan again, but made it evident they can survive without him. Baltimore
returned two interceptions for touchdowns, forced two fumbles and had a

"That's a great defense over there,
and we're striving to be a great defense over here," said Jets
linebacker Bart Scott, who followed Ryan to New York.

The Jets didn't get a first down in
their opening three series, and Baltimore used a 43-yard pass from Joe
to Derrick Mason to set up a 3-yard touchdown run by Ray Rice
for a 14-0 lead.

Another Jets punt ensued, and
Baltimore moved 62 yards before rookie Graham Gano missed a 46-yard
field goal. Gano, who is competing against Steve Hauschka for the
starting job, has missed twice in two games.

Following the miss, Sanchez finally
started to move the offense. A short pass to Washington on a
third-and-12 went for 16 yards, and a run by Washington for 15 yards on
a third-and-10 set up the TD pass.

"I'm proud of the way he responded,"
Ryan said of Sanchez. "It ain't going to be perfect; sometimes you have
these type of nights. You've got to give credit where credit is due,
and most of that goes to their defense."

Notes: The Ravens attempted half as
many passes against the Jets (27) as against Washington (54) in the
preseason opener. … Baltimore TE L.J. Smith left in the fourth
quarter with a hamstring problem. … New York RB Shonn Greene got hit
in the ribs, but Ryan said the injury was not serious.

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