2009 Preseason Week 2 Jets At Ravens Photos
For the second consecutive week, Kellen Clemens got off to rough start before finishing on a high note.
On a Monday night when Mark Sanchez got his first NFL career start, Clemens played the role of No. 2 quarterback in the Jets' 24-23 loss in Baltimore. After Sanchez had his bell rung in the second quarter, Clemens finished the final 2:34 of the opening half and watched the Ravens' lead grow from seven points to a 14-point cushion.
With the Jets facing second-and-9 at their 12 and just seconds left on the game clock, Clemens, who was victimized by an early strip-sack last week against the Rams, threw an ill-advised pass that was intercepted by Ravens LB Jameel McClain and returned 16 yards for a touchdown.
"The interception there to finish the first half was disappointing. It really gave the momentum back to them," Clemens said. "We had a little miscommunication with some of the routes — evidently Brad Smith and Leon Washington collided. I need to do a better job of making sure the ball gets to the dirt so we can get to third down."
It was the second "pick-six" of the first half for the Ravens as Sanchez was intercepted by 6'4", 345-pound Haloti Ngata on the game's second play from scrimmage. Benefiting from a Ray Lewis pressure, Ngata strolled 25 yards into the end zone for a quick B-More lead.
"Did I expect Mark Sanchez or Kellen Clemens to go out here and light it up against this defense? No," said Jets head coach Rex Ryan. "I knew it would be tough."
Down, 21-7, to start the second half, Clemens capitalized on a special teams takeaway. Two plays after reserve LB Marques Murrell recovered a Lardarius Webb fumble on the kickoff return, Clemens got a favorable matchup on the outside with speedster David Clowney against an overmatched corner.
"They were playing man and coming after us and David obviously has some advantages out there when it comes to speed," KC said. "So I just threw the ball out and let 'em go get it. And he did a great job as he has been all preseason of making a play for us."
Then after an interception by Marquice Cole, it looked like Clemens was going to have the Jets tied in no time. The fourth-year pro threw on the money to Brad Smith, but Smith simply dropped the ball in the end zone. That drive would end up at the Ravens' 2-yard line before Parker Douglass nailed a 20-yard chippy to get the Green & White back to within four points at 21-17.
"The thing that I hope that shows up is the way I led the guys particularly after the interception," Clemens said. "It was not in our favor and to be able to regroup and put some positive drives together, positive decisions should show up. There were a couple of throwaways, a couple of checks that I made during the course of the game."
The Jets wasted a glorious opportunity to take the lead on Clemens' final possession. Starting a drive at the home team's 40, the visitors moved just 7 yards in four plays. In roughly a quarter of action, Clemens finished 5-of-10 for 60 yards with one TD and one INT.
"There were a lot of positives," he said. "Unfortunately, I'd like to say that we won the game, but we gave them 14 points and that's tough to overcome."
So where do we go from here in this QB competition?
"We'll evaluate it. We'll look at the tape," Ryan said. "All the things we've seen through training camp as of right now, this moment, I'm not ready to make that decision yet at this time."
If you studied the stats, Clemens' numbers looked very similar to Sanchez's. The rookie finished 3-of-8 for 43 yards with one TD and one INT.
"I think it would be good to get it resolved, and the sooner the better. But that's not up to me," said WR Jerricho Cotchery. "Once we figure out who our quarterback is going to be, we need to get to work together and establish some chemistry. Until then, we just need to keep working as an offense. Whoever it is, we need to get together and play ball. I know we have the potential to be really good as an offense. We just need to jell."
If Ryan elected to go for a point after late in the fourth quarter instead of opting for the two-point try, the Jets and the Ravens most likely would have been tied after 60 minutes of play. But the only tie on this night might have been the play of the quarterbacks.
"If anybody moved ahead or anything like that," J-Co said, "I really don't know."