x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Jones-Drew finds yards through revered Ravens defence to set up Jaguars win

Jacksonville running back is first to run for 100 yards against Baltimore since December as four Josh Scobee field goals seals a 12-7 win

Maurice Jones-Drew, left, is tackled to the ground by the Baltimore linebacker Jameel McClain. The Jacksonville running back went 105 yards on 30 carries.
Maurice Jones-Drew, left, is tackled to the ground by the Baltimore linebacker Jameel McClain. The Jacksonville running back went 105 yards on 30 carries.

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA // As Maurice Jones-Drew walked off the field, his white trousers had a mix of grass, dirt and blood stains. They might be worth keeping that way.

After all, few players have had that much success against that defence.

Jones-Drew ran for 105 yards, Josh Scobee kicked four field goals and the Jacksonville Jaguars snapped a five-game slide with a 12-7 victory over the Baltimore Ravens.

"It finally feels good to win one after all those losses," Jones-Drew said, the first player to run for 100 yards against the Ravens since December last year. "It was nice to show the world what we're about. We beat a very good team."

Stepping into the national spotlight for a few hours, the Jaguars used their best defensive effort in seven years to slow down Ray Rice, Joe Flacco and Co.

"You've got to give them credit. They played like it was their Super Bowl," Anquan Boldin, the Ravens wide receiver, said.

The victory could be a turning point for a young team trying to create confidence after losing eight of their previous nine games. Instead of talk about coach Jack Del Rio's job security, the Jaguars (2-5) got back in the mix in the wide-open AFC South.

"We knew this was an opportunity to right things and gain a little respect," Del Rio said.

They relied on Jones-Drew and the defence to get it done.

Jacksonville did not allow a first down until the 5 minutes 26 second mark of the third quarter, a mix of stout defence and inept offence. Flacco finally got the Ravens (4-2) on the scoreboard with a little more than two minutes remaining. He capped a 90-yard drive with a five-yard touchdown pass to Boldin.

The Ravens failed to recover an onside kick when the ball bounced inches short of going the required 10 yards. Scobee followed with his third field goal of at least 50 yards, tying an NFL record held by many.

"As long as I'm getting those opportunities, I will gladly take them," Scobee said. "Given that we haven't scored a lot of points this season, I know that every time I'm out there it's very important."

Baltimore had a final possession, but in fitting fashion, Jacksonville's defence came up big. Drew Coleman stepped in front of Ed Dickson and intercepted Flacco's final pass.

The Ravens finished with 146 total yards, the fewest yards the Jaguars have allowed since 2004.

"They basically beat us with their defence," John Harbaugh, the coach, said. "I don't think it was any one thing. It was a lack of execution. It's almost as bad as you can play on offence."

The Jaguars set a franchise record by allowing only 16 yards in the first half, including one yard of passing by Flacco, who was under relentless pressure for much of the night.

"We need to make sure when we're not on our 'A' game, we're not this," said Flacco, who completed 21 of 38 passes for 137 yards.

Baltimore finally got a first down on their 28th play of the game when Rice broke off a 12-yard run. That was only the second play longer than 10 yards for the Ravens.

"We were confident about this game," Terrance Knighton, the Jaguars defensive tackle, said. "We knew we had to outplay them. The difference between this and the other weeks is that we started fast. Our defence is capable of that. That's why we hold ourselves to a high standard. We just needed to taste victory. Now that we have, we're going to keep it rolling."

The teams combined to go 0 of 16 on third-down conversions in the opening half. The Jaguars began the third quarter with six first downs, only for the Ravens defence to stiffen after yet another mistake.

The Ravens stopped Jacksonville, but Brendon Ayanbadejo was called for a personal foul and ejected from the game when he punched Guy Whimper in the face mask after the play. That gave the Jaguars first-and-goal from the 3, but Blaine Gabbert failed to complete two passes in the end zone and Scobee kicked a 22-yard field goal.

An earlier field goal was set up by another Baltimore blunder.

After Gabbert completed passes of 24 and 11 yards to the Ravens 38, Gabbert was sacked on third-and-eight at the 40. The Jaguars chose to punt, but Paul Kruger was penalised for running into the kicker. The five-yard penalty put Scobee in field goal range, putting the Jaguars up 6-0 with a 54-yard kick.

Scobee, who extended his franchise record with a field goal for the 15th straight game, kicked two 54-yarders.

Jacksonville needed every yard and points they could muster. The NFL's worst offence put the game on Jones-Drew's shoulders. He carried 30 times, most of them right into the middle of Baltimore's revered defence.

"We just grinded them," Gabbert said. "Mojo's a beast back there."