Lamar Jackson threw three touchdown passes, including two to Devin Duvernay, and the Baltimore Ravens rolled past the New York Jets 24-9 on a rainy Sunday in the regular-season opener.
Jackson went 17 of 30 for 213 yards, including a TD to Rashod Bateman, and an interception. The performance came hours after ESPN reported that Jackson turned down a five-year extension offer worth more than $250 million.
Baltimore general manager Eric DeCosta said in a statement Friday that the sides would keep working on an extension after the season. Jackson, entering his fifth-year option on his rookie deal, gave the Ravens some more to consider.
Jackson didn’t run much on Sunday, just 17 yards rushing on six carries, but he didn’t need to because the Jets’ offense struggled to get anything going.
Joe Flacco, starting against the team whom he helped win a Super Bowl, was ineffective and wasn’t helped by a few drops and lousy pass protection. He went 37 of 59 for 307 yards and a touchdown and interception — and the fans at MetLife Stadium chanted backup Mike White’s name a few times in the second half.
Flacco started in place of Zach Wilson, who’s out until at least Week 4 while recovering from a bone bruise and a torn meniscus.
There were early signs this could be a long one for the Jets’ offense. Flacco was intercepted by Marcus Williams on the third drive when intended receiver Lawrence Cager slipped on the wet turf and the ball went right to the Ravens safety, who returned it to the Jets 13. But New York’s defense held firm and Baltimore settled for Justin Tucker’s 24-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead.
The Jets missed a chance to tie early in the second quarter when Greg Zuerlein was wide left on a 45-yard attempt.
One play after left tackle Ja’Wuan James, who started in place of the injured Ronnie Stanley, was carted off the field with an ankle injury, Jackson perfectly placed a pass to Duvernay for a 25-yard TD and a 10-point lead with 3:45 left in the first half.
The Jets responded with their first points of the season, with Zuerlein making a 45-yarder this time around.
The Ravens extended their lead on their second drive of the second half on Duvernay’s second touchdown catch when Jackson avoided pressure, stepped up in the pocket and found Duvernay streaking into the end zone.
The Jets appeared to make a big play on defense late in the third quarter when D.J. Reed forced Mike Davis to fumble, but the Ravens running back recovered. On the next play, Bateman split two Jets defenders and Jackson lofted a pass that hit him in stride for a 55-yard touchdown that made it 24-3.
New York’s offense finally found some rhythm with a nine-play drive to get into the red zone, but but rookie running back Breece Hall fumbled after a 7-yard catch that would’ve been a first down and Marlon Humphrey recovered for the Ravens.
Two more things
Two other moments were indicative of the lousy day for the Jets. One was that Flacco found a wide-open Michael Carter on fourth-and-goal from the 6 with 4:17 left, but Carter dropped the pass in the end zone.
And with 1:18 remaining, Elijah Moore appeared to have a touchdown on third down. He was called for offensive pass interference on a play during which Ravens cornerback Kyle Fuller injured his left leg and needed helped off the field.
The Jets finally got into the end zone a few plays later on Tyler Conklin’s 2-yard TD catch with 1 minute left, but Zuerlein missed the extra point.
The Jets dropped their 13th straight game in the month of September, dating to the 2018 season.
Flacco fell to 0-6 as a starter with the Jets, including 0-1 last year in place of Wilson and 0-4 in 2020 in place of Sam Darnold.
Ravens: James didn’t return and was replaced by Patrick Mekari.
Jets: CB Michael Carter II left with a hip injury in the third quarter.
Ravens: Host the Miami Dolphins next Sunday in their home opener.
Jets: Travel to Cleveland to face the Browns next Sunday.