Judon’s two sacks might hint at future at OLB
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Ravens dropped their fourth consecutive game Sunday but might have glimpsed their future at outside linebacker.
With veterans Terrell Suggs (biceps) and Elvis Dumervil (foot) deactivated because of injuries, the defense started Za’Darius Smith and rookie Kamalei Correa and used rookie Matthew Judon liberally in Sunday’s 24-16 loss to the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium.
Judon, a fifth-round draft pick who led the NCAA with 21 sacks in 2015 at Division II Grand Valley State, had the best performance of the three, making three tackles, including the first two sacks of his career. Judon was inactive in losses this month to the Oakland Raiders and Washington Redskins.
“I just went out there and played by the game plan,” said Judon, who became the first outside linebacker besides Suggs to record a sack for the Ravens this year. “There were some good calls. One of them was a call by [defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan], and the other one was a call by [defensive coordinator Dean Pees] that got me free on the two sacks I had.”
Smith, a fourth-round selection in 2015, had three tackles, hit starting Jets quarterback Geno Smith in the first quarter and knocked down a third-down screen pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick in the third quarter. Smith, who started in Suggs’ place on the right edge of the defensive front, also was flagged for a late hit on Fitzpatrick later in the quarter.
Correa, who started in Dumervil’s spot on the left side, had two tackles, the first of his career. Flacco says throwing shoulder is fine: Despite skipping two practices last week and being limited Friday, quarterback Joe Flacco started and played all of Sunday’s game.
Flacco completed56.8 percent of his passes for 248 yards and was sacked just once. But his passer rating was a season-low 54.0, he connected on just 10 of 22 passes for 48 yards in the second half, and his streak of throws without an interception ended at 176 in the third quarter when his underthrown pass to wide receiver Breshad Perriman was intercepted by Jets cornerback Buster Skrine.
After a 22-yard field goal by the Jets’ Nick Folk, Flacco had another pass intercepted whenheoverthrewPerrimanoverthemiddle. Free safety Marcus Gilchrist returned the ball to the Ravens 24-yard line, which led to New York’s third and final touchdown.
Afterward, Flacco declared that his throwing shoulder was fine.
“I felt good,” he said. “My arm felt great. I was a little bit nervous early on in the week just because I wasn’t sure what it was. I was having a little bit of trouble with it. So I was a little bit nervous early in the week, but when I went in on Thursday, I felt pretty good and I felt optimistic that I was going to be feeling ready to go.” More injuries for Ravens: The Ravens’ injury list grew Sunday.
After opening the game without four defensive starters — Suggs, Dumervil, inside linebacker C.J. Mosley (hamstring) and cornerback Shareece Wright (hamstring) — the unit lost two more: free safety Lardarius Webb (hamstring) and rookie cornerback Tavon Young ( concussion).
Webb, who made two tackles before leaving the game, said afterward that heis OK.
“It was just one play,” he said, adding that he intends to play when the Pittsburgh Steelers visit M&TBankStadium on Nov. 6. “I felt it. Butit’s not bad. I just didn’t wanttogoin and make it worse. So the smarter decision was just to come out.”
Marqueston Huff replaced Webb at safety and had no tackles.
Young made six tackles before getting hurt in the third quarter. Young, who was not permitted to talk to the media because he is in the concussion protocol, was replaced by Jerraud Powers, who made two tackles. Other inactives: In addition to Suggs, Dumervil, Mosley and Wright, the team deactivated wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. (ankle), right guard Marshal Yanda (shoulder) and rookie left tackle Ronnie Stanley (foot).
Stanley’s absence is puzzling. He fully practiced all three days last week, but he sat out his fourth consecutive game. Smith and Yanda missed their second straight game. Kamar Aiken made his second consecutive start for Smith and caught three passes for 55 yards.
The offensive line consisted of rookie Alex Lewis at left tackle, John Urschel at left guard, Jeremy Zuttah at center, Ryan Jensen at right guard and Rick Wagner at right tackle. Wagner sat out last Sunday’s game because of a thigh injury. Moore scores touchdown … on special teams: Rookie Chris Moore scored a school-record 26 career touchdowns at Cincinnati. But he never scored one on special teams. He did Sunday for the Ravens.
The wide receiver scored the Ravens’ first touchdown when he recovered a fumble by punter Lachlan Edwards in the end zone with 9:37 left in the first quarter.
Coming off the left edge of the punt block team, Moore saw the snap from Tanner Purdum sail through Edwards’ hands and pounced on the opportunity.
“It was just a blitz play where I was supposed to come off the edge,” said Moore, a fourth-round pick. “When I saw the punter muff it, I knew I had to try to get the team the ball. It just so happened that it rolled into the end zone. I landed on top of it, and it was amazing.” Flacco joins Unitas: With an 11-yard pass to Perriman early in the second quarter, Flacco eclipsed the 30,000-yard passing mark for his career. Flacco is the second quarterback in Baltimore football history to reach that threshold, joining former Colts great Johnny Unitas (39,768 yards in 17 seasons).