The international series kicked off on Sunday with the Jacksonville Jaguars hosting the Baltimore Ravens at Wembley Stadium. We here at Into The End Zone wanted to share a game recap with all those who couldn’t make it down to the English National stadium.
This year is the 10th anniversary of the first international series game in England and my, how far it has come in such a short space of time! On arrival at the stadium you are instantly greeted by a sea of different coloured jerseys from every team in the NFL and 90+ thousand fans all there with a common goal, to watch some football!!!
Wembley stadium hosted a multitude of events around the stadium before kick-off including the Jaguars Zone, the main stage (hosting a variety of players and pundits) and the main event the Wembley tailgate.
The Wembley tailgate included a multitude of things to see and do such as the NFL shop containing merchandise from all 32 teams and the NFL Lab where you can show off your skills and compare them with the best players around. Other highlights in the tailgate include getting your picture taken with the coveted super bowl prize the Vince Lombardi trophy and lots of food, drink and attractions put on by the NFL’s main sponsors.
We found the way to make the most of all this pre-game entertainment was to download the 2017 NFL London Games Fan Mobile Pass presented by Subway. This app is available on the Google Play Store and the App store. As well as being filled with lots of information and social activities, you can also scan your Fan Mobile Pass at activations to unlock badges to earn chances to win exclusive NFL prizes. The more badges you earn, the more prizes you have a chance to win.
After having our full fill of activities and spending shed loads of cash we headed into the stadium about an hour before kick-off, we watched the teams warm up and waited for the usual pre-game entertainment (unfortunately none this time) and of course got the beers in!
The Jaguars know how to put on a show their famous D-line band; Roar of the Jaguars cheerleaders and mascots Jaxson DeVille and Union Jaxson warm you up with spectacular performances. The D-Line is a group of some of the finest rudimental drummers in the Jacksonville area who aim to provide the fans a great game day experience with visual and audio entertainment. The Jacksonville cheerleaders better known as the Roar of the Jaguars are made up of 34 stunning and talented cheerleaders who got the crowd ready for action. Jaxson DeVille is known for his awe inspiring bungee jumps from above Wembley stadium and this year was no different! Union Jaxson is the Jaguars United Kingdom mascot and joins Jaxson De Ville each year to celebrate their London home game.
After the warm up and the national anthems of both the US and UK (and the surrounding controversy) it was on to the main event the football! The game kicked off with the Ravens receiving the ball, this first drive set the tone for the game, a 3 and out ending in a sack of Joe Flacco before the punt.
Jaguars led by Blake Bortles had a solid first drive of 4:35 and 9 plays the highlight of which was a 35 yard pass to Marqise Lee ultimately resulting in a field goal. They wouldn’t have to wait long for their next drive with another 3 and out for the Ravens, followed up by another impressive Jaguars drive resulting in a 17 yard touchdown pass to Marcedes Lewis.
This theme repeated itself all the way through the first three quarters. The Jaguars dominated offense and defense and the Ravens couldn’t look further from the 2-0 team that headed into this game. The Jaguars were well drilled and executed a short gain game plan with well-timed passes and runs eating up the yardage.
The Jaguars next touchdown came courtesy of a Flacco interception by A.J Bouye in the second quarter ending with excellent field position at the Baltimore 28 yard line. This was sent Into The End Zone courtesy of 5 yard touchdown pass to Allen Hurns.
It was like Deja vu in the third quarter with another Flacco interception, this time a spectacular diving catch by Jalen Ramsey which ended in another Jaguars touchdown with an impressive 30 yard pass up the middle to Marcedes Lewis. The Jaguars defence continued their dominance when Terrance West had a fumble which was scooped up by Telvin Smith and returned for a massive 51 yard gain. After another passing touchdown combination for Bortles and Lewis the score rang out a decisive 37-0.
The final nail would come courtesy of a superb rushing drive combination of Ivory, Fournette and Grant ending with a Fournette 3 yard rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter. Things were so bad for the Ravens they even sent out Ryan Mallet to replace Flacco who managed to prevent a shutout with a 6 yard passing touchdown to Benjamin Watson which was nothing other than garbage time points.
The 44-7 score line sums up perfectly the two team’s performances. The Jaguars had 410 offensive yards with Bortles 20 of 31 with 244 yards (also replaced in the 4th quarter but for all the right reasons). The Ravens simple had no answer for the Jaguars aggressive defense and solid offence and could only gain 186 yards all game. Jason Myers was on target with 3 field goals and 5 extra points to further extend the rout of the Ravens. Marcedes Lewis was voted man of the match and was fully deserved after a great performance. The Ravens fans are said to travel well and to be fair there were large patches of purple inside the stadium but after the utter spanking the Jaguars dished out the Ravens fan started to fly the coup and the only one teams fans (and the neutrals) were left to celebrate in their teams well deserved victory.
So that sums up International series Game 1. This Weekend the Miami dolphins host the New Orleans Saints and we hope to see you all down at Wembley Stadium for hopefully another great game of football!