The Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets came out on the losing end of their season openers. To make matters worse, they each have a banged-up starting quarterback.
Week 2 matchups to watch
There are many intriguing games this weekend. The most-anticipated matchup is Sunday night's tilt between the Chargers and the Patriots in a rematch between two of the best teams in the league. As we get ready for all of the action, Gil Brandt takes a look at eight matchups worth watching in Week 2. Full story ...
Baltimore fell 27-20 to Cincinnati on Monday night, dropping its fifth season opener in six years. The defending AFC North champion had a chance to tie the score in the game's final minutes, but Kyle Boller's pass bounced off tight end Todd Heap's shoulder in the end zone and into the hands of a diving Bengals lineman with 1:13 to go.
Boller had replaced Steve McNair, who strained his groin earlier in the fourth quarter. McNair's status for the Jets matchup remained uncertain Wednesday, but even when he was playing Monday he was ineffective.
McNair had a hand in four of Baltimore's six turnovers. He threw an interception, fumbled on a sack, muffed a handoff and let the ball slip out of his hand on a pass attempt.
"The turnovers, that's unacceptable,'' said McNair, who finished 20-of-34 for 203 yards and no touchdowns. "I have to give my team a chance. It starts with me on five (Lemar Marshall fumbled after catching a 3-yard pass from McNair) of those six turnovers. I've got to correct that.''
Boller, who finished 2-of-6 for 19 yards, hasn't started since the final game of the 2005 season.
Baltimore's Willis McGahee rushed for 77 yards on 19 attempts Sunday, but has been at his best against the Jets. McGahee, acquired from Buffalo in the offseason, has 705 rushing yards -- his most against any opponent -- and three touchdowns on 138 carries in six games against New York.
New York lost to New England 38-14 on Sunday, and Chad Pennington hurt his right ankle when he was sacked in the third quarter.
During practice this week, Pennington had the ankle heavily wrapped and walked with a slight limp. He participated in footwork drills but didn't throw any passes or take any snaps during the half-hour period that the media is allowed to view.
"It's just a day-to-day process and I'm working extremely hard around the clock to do everything I can to prepare myself to play,'' said Pennington, who was 16-of-21 for 167 yards and two touchdowns last week. "I'm just taking it day by day and seeing how much progress I make each day.''
If Pennington is unavailable Sunday, Kellen Clemens would likely get the start - his first in the NFL.
As a rookie last season, Clemens threw one pass - an incompletion - and appeared in only two games. He surpassed his production from last season in relief of Pennington on Sunday, going 5-of-10 for 35 yards.
"I prepare like I'm going to play, so if my number is called I give them the best opportunity to help the team win,'' Clemens said. "I'm going to prepare as best as I can and try to be as ready as possible.''
If Clemens does get the start, he'll face a tough first test in a strong Ravens defense. Baltimore allowed an NFL-low 264.1 yards per game last season and held Cincinnati to 236 on Sunday.
"There's not a lot of weak points in that chain,'' Clemens said of Baltimore's defense. "They're very talented. They'll be a challenge for us.''
The news wasn't nearly as good for Baltimore left tackle Jonathan Ogden, who will almost certainly miss this game after aggravating his hyperextended left big toe in the first half Monday.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press