Because the NFL doesn’t include “style points” in the standings, there’s only one way to look at Monday night’s season opener between the Ravens and the Jets.
A win is a win.
And it was a weird one at that, because there was nearly as much bad as good at times.
Joe Flacco wasn’t very good, but still made a handful of critical throws that helped keep the Ravens in the game. The referees abused the Jets defense with penalty after penalty — several of them of the “game-changing” variety. And Baltimore’s inability to run the ball was somewhat eye opening. Mix in a horrendous decision on a punt return from Tom Zbikowski and a puzzling sequence in the final 2 minutes of the game where the Ravens coaching staff fell asleep and allowed the Jets to hang on to one of their time-outs and it was all a recipe for a crushing season opening defeat.
Not so fast.
Anquan Boldin was a beast, Ray Lewis (circa 2000) showed up in a big way and the much-maligned Ravens secondary was superb all night.
I just checked the standings and the Ravens are 1-0.
Did the Ravens deserve to win?
But the Jets certainly didn’t deserve to win, either.
And when you’re playing at home and your coach has huffed and puffed all summer about how the rest of the AFC might as well give up their Super Bowl hopes because the Jets are going to Dallas and that’s that — well, if you don’t deserve to win, you shouldn’t win.
In New York on Tuesday, Mark Sanchez and Antonio Cromartie will wear the goat’s horns, but Rex Ryan deserves much of the “L” for his arrogant pre-season swashbuckling that had most of the nation “Jets’d-out” before the first ball was kicked off on Monday night. And if we’re tired of seeing and hearing Rex blow smoke about how great his team was going to be, imagine how the Ravens felt leading up to the game when all the talk centered on how Baltimore was heading to New York to christen the Jets’ version of New Meadowlands Stadium.
As Jay-Z sang in “Encore” — Grand opening…grand closing.
Simply put, Rex Ryan talked too much. And when his players couldn’t back it up, it added up to a more patient Ravens team plodding along and taking what the game – and the referees – gave them.
Any result except a Ravens win would have been unjustified. They weathered an early New York defensive storm and a less than desirable performance from Flacco to win a HUGE road game.
A win is a win.
And it’s better than a loss.
Style points? There aren’t any.
On the road, you win and you get the hell out of town.
The Ravens are getting out of town with a 1-0 record.
That’s the best they can be after week #1.