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MONDAY NIGHT NFL ROUNDUP: Ravens beat Jets; Chiefs edge Chargers

Photo by Mike Phillips

Photo by Mike Phillips

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. --The Baltimore Ravens gave the New York Jets some hard knocks -- real ones.

The Jets intrigued audiences in the preseason with their no-holds-barred, behind-the-scenes TV show, but it was the Ravens who grabbed the spotlight Monday night. They held New York to 176 yards, six first downs, allowed Mark Sanchez just 74 yards passing and kept Rex Ryan's crew out of the end zone.

For those urging the Jets to put up or shut up, well, it was Baltimore that produced most of the highlights in a sloppy opener of New York's new home. The $1.6 billion New Meadowlands Stadium rocked with J-E-T-S chants, then the Ravens rocked Ryan's defense with enough big plays to silence the crowd of 78,127 -- if not the talkative coach and his players.

Billy Cundiff's 25-yard field goal in the third quarter provided the winning points, with Anquan Boldin, Baltimore's main offseason acquisition, gaining 65 yards on two passes against first-round draft pick Kyle Wilson. Boldin made the kind of impact the Ravens sought with seven receptions overall for 110 yards, at times toying with the Jets' vaunted secondary.

So did tight end Todd Heap, who caught six passes from a cool Joe Flacco for 72 yards.

The beginning was fiery, as expected, with Ray Rice and Shaun Ellis woofing at each other before kickoff. But it turned into a slopfest, as many of the openers were this weekend, with the Jets looking particularly undisciplined by drawing 14 penalties for 125 yards. They also were 1 for 11 on third downs.

New York's six first downs tied a franchise-low set in 1976.

The beginning was fiery, as expected, with Ray Rice and Shaun Ellis woofing at each other before kickoff. But it turned into a slopfest, as many of the openers were this weekend, with the Jets looking the most undisciplined.

New York's usually fierce defense sacked Flacco on Baltimore's first offensive play, forcing a fumble recovered by Sione Pouha. The Ravens' equally intense D held firm, and Nick Folk kicked a 23-yard field goal.

Pouha grabbed another fumble later in the quarter, by Willis McGahee, and Flacco was picked off by Antonio Cromartie on a sideline pass at the New York 3. The cornerback, acquired in a trade with San Diego to further bolster a secondary that features All-Pro CB Darrelle Revis, got a terrific block from his partner on a 66-yard runback to the Baltimore 31.

Two plays later, Shonn Greene lost the ball -- he touched it only one more time the rest of the night and dropped a pass -- and Baltimore embarked on an impressive 11-play, 76-yard drive for a 7-6 halftime lead. Of course, it was aided by Jets mistakes, the worst of which were Braylon Edwards -- a wide receiver, of all things -- running into Cundiff on a field goal attempt, giving the Ravens a first down to prolong the possession, and rookie Kyle Wilson's pass interference on T.J. Houshmandzadeh in the end zone.

McGahee scored from the 1 with 6 seconds left, but New York wasn't done committing penalties. The Jets were offside on the extra point and had 10 penalties for 100 yards in the opening half.

They weren't any more efficient in the second half. But they did get Folk's 48-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter to make it 10-9. Even then, however, they wasted a 22-yard punt return by Jim Leonhard to the Baltimore 35.

Cromartie's debut as a Jet was spotty, at best. Like Wilson, he was beaten several times by Boldin as the Ravens usually avoided Revis, even though the Jets' star cornerback missed the entire preseason in a holdout.

New York's LaDainian Tomlinson gained 62 yards rushing, carrying the load and looking good in spurts.

New York lost defensive tackle Kris Jenkins to a first-quarter knee injury.

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Chiefs 21, Chargers 14

Jamaal Charles' 56-yard touchdown run and Dexter McCluster's team-record 94-yard punt return gave Kansas City a two-touchdown lead and the Chiefs held San Diego on four downs inside the 6-yard line in the final minute for a 21-14 victory Monday night.

Playing most of the game in a pounding rain, the Chiefs turned the night into the confidence-building coming-out party they had been hoping for since the schedule came out in April. By beating the four-time defending AFC West champions, they proclaimed an end to a three-year period that was one of the darkest in team history.

Philip Rivers thoroughly outplayed Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel and drove the Chargers to a first-and-goal from the 4. But a pass was incomplete, Darren Sproles lost 2 yards and another pass sailed high. Then with 39 seconds left, Rivers missed again. The rain-soaked crowd, which hadn't seen the Chiefs win on Monday night in 10 years, erupted in cheers.

Rivers was 22 for 39 for 298 yards and two touchdowns, several times victimizing a young Chiefs secondary for long gains. Cassel, with a history of playing poorly against the Chargers, was 10 for 22 for 68 yards, including a 2-yard TD pass following a San Diego turnover.

Rivers found Antonio Gates with a 3-yard TD pass on San Diego's second possession for the game's first score.

But as lightning flashed overhead, the Chiefs struck quickly to make up for an otherwise impotent offense in Arrowhead Stadium's first Monday night game in six years.

After Kansas City's first two possessions produced nothing, Charles, a 1,000-yard rusher who was beaten out in training camp by veteran Thomas Jones, broke through a hole and sped 56 yards with 37 seconds left in the first quarter to tie the game.

Ryan Mathews, who is replacing perennial Pro Bowler LaDainian Tomlinson in the Chargers' backfield, took a brutal hit by Derrick Johnson and lost the ball. Brandon Carr scooped it up and ran 16 yards to the San Diego 12 and Cassel made it 14-7 with a 2-yard TD pass to rookie tight end Tony Moeaki.

McCluster, a scatback who was a training camp sensation with his quickness and flair, took a San Diego punt in heavy rain in the second quarter and cut left. He sailed almost untouched down the sideline and got the only block he needed from Andy Studebaker in a 94-yard return that put KC on top 21-7 late in the half. The return broke Dante Hall's team record by one yard.

Legedu Naanee of the Chargers got wide open on an obviously blown coverage and hauled in a 59-yard touchdown pass to make it 21-14 with 2:23 left.