Breakdowns on line leave Blake exposed


Backup QB struggles with lost fumble, pickoff, but rebounds with TD


August 16, 2002|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

The offensive line protection broke down badly for Ravens quarterback Jeff Blake in last night's 34-16 loss to the New York Jets at Ravens Stadium.

That led to an equally rough outing by Blake, who lost a fumble at the Ravens' 7-yard line that led to a Jets touchdown and threw an interception that was returned for a 40-yard touchdown by Andrew Davison in the third quarter.

Blake was nearly sacked on his first three drop-backs after relieving Chris Redman on the Ravens' second possession of the third quarter, and he mustered little offense in his first four possessions.

Blake, though, had only Casey Rabach as a starter on his offensive line, and Rabach, who started at guard, was playing center.

"That's not fair with what is going on around [Blake]," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "He's hanging in there as best he can. And you get frustrated because you'd like him to be able to do some things."

Blake, trying to unseat Redman as starter, lost the statistical battle against the Jets. Redman went 15-for-22 for 102 yards, while Blake completed nine of 15 passes for 73 yards. More importantly, Blake's first four possessions ended with a fumble, a three-and-out series, an interception and Tellis Redmon's fumble.

Blake did finish the night strong. He led an 11-play, 64-yard touchdown drive on his fifth and final possession, ending with a 5-yard toss to Ron Johnson. The two hooked up four times for 39 yards on the drive.

"I know he is going to be very capable as a backup for us," Billick said of Blake. "But, unfortunately, Chris needs all the reps he can get. I'd love to bring Jeff in and give him a quarter with the first group, but I can't."

Porter doesn't take cover

The Jets came after cornerback Alvin Porter early, and he did not duck his shaky performance afterward.

Two long passes were completed on Porter's side on the opening drive, the latter a 31-yard Vinny Testaverde-to-Laveranues Coles touchdown in which Porter got turned around.

"He made a great play," Porter said. "That was on me. I didn't take the correct angle. But I'm not going to run and hide. It's how you bounce back from these things."

Hunter's happy return

Javin Hunter made his bid to become the No. 1 kickoff returner last night.

Hunter had a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, eluding Daniel Wilcox and outrunning Danny Boyd to the end zone in the third quarter.

Hunter, though, did not have much by way of follow-up, downing his next kickoff after it barely made it into the end zone and fumbling the one after that, which he recovered.

Et cetera

Cornerback Gary Baxter (hamstring), linebackers Andre Arnold (knee), Rod Taylor (leg) and Peter Boulware (ankle), defensive tackle Josh McKibben (leg) and ends Tony Weaver (ankle) and Michael McCrary (knee) did not play. ... A member of the Ravens band was carried off the field before the game because of heat exhaustion. ... Former Raven Larry Webster, who signed with the Jets in the off-season, called the coin toss last night. He suffered a bruised knee early in the second quarter. ... Ravens cornerback Chris McAlister returned his only first-half punt return 7 yards. ... The Ravens' newly implemented shotgun formation produced its first fumble of the preseason when Rabach sent a snap wide right of Redman. It was recovered by the Jets at the Ravens' 29 with 23 seconds left in the first half and led to a field goal. ... Brandon Stokley led all Ravens receivers in the first half with five catches for 47 yards. ... Edgerton Hartwell had his third sack of the preseason in the third quarter against Jets backup Chad Pennington. ... Will Demps made his second interception of the preseason with just under nine minutes left in the fourth quarter off Tory Woodbury.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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