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McKnight sets new mark for longest play against Ravens

Prior to Sunday, the

Ravens

had been one of 17 teams that had yet to surrender a return for a touchdown.

That changed Sunday night when

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New York Jets
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running back

Joe McKnight

returned a kickoff 107 yards just 3 minutes, 17 seconds into the first quarter at M&T Bank Stadium.

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The touchdown, which was the longest play in Jets history and the longest allowed by the Ravens in their history, was the first kickoff return against the Ravens since

John Harbaugh

became the head coach in 2008, but the third such kick return for a touchdown over that same span.

The play was especially deflating because it occurred after the Ravens had taken a 7-0 lead when free safety

Ed Reed

sacked and stripped quarterback

Mark Sanchez

and inside linebacker

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Jameel McClain
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returned the fumble six yards for the touchdown.

New York had entered the contest ranked 11th in the

NFL

with a 24.4-yard average on kick returns, and the touchdown was the franchise's 15th since 2001, which topped the league.

On Thursday, Ravens special teams coordinator

Jerry Rosburg

expressed his respect for Jets special teams coordinator

Mike Westhoff

.

"It seems when you turn their tape on every year, whether you're playing them or not, you watch the Jets have big returns and big plays," Rosburg said. "Mike uses those players very well. You can see that he has a mind that goes after a particular coverage, he'll attack it and he'll look for weak spots like we all do. He has great players to attack. He does a very good job in that regard."

Ravens short-handed at cornerback

Reed lined up as the fifth defensive back in the defense's nickel package.

The secondary was forced to use the seven-time Pro Bowler there after the team deactivated cornerback

Chris Carr

. Carr's ailing left hamstring flared up again, sidelining him for Friday's practice after he had fully participated in Wednesday's and Thursday's sessions.

His absence — along with that of rookie

Jimmy Smith

(high left

ankle sprain

) and

Domonique Foxworth

(right knee, injured reserve) left the defense with just four healthy cornerbacks in starters

Cary Williams

and

Lardarius Webb

and reserves

Danny Gorrer

and rookie

Chykie Brown

.

The unit could not employ

Haruki Nakamura

as the nickel back as the safety was sidelined by a posterior cruciate ligament injury in his right knee.

Kruger, Mason mix it up

Paul Kruger

hasn't lit up the stat sheet in his three years with the Ravens, but the outside linebacker may have made an indelible impression when he exchanged a few pleasantries with New York Jets wide receiver

Derrick Mason

in the third quarter.

On third down-and-8 from the Jets' 36-yard line, Mason, a former Raven, caught a pass from quarterback Mark Sanchez, but was wrestled to the turf by Kruger one yard short of a first down.

Afterward, Kruger and Mason traded some shoves, and other players joined in the fray before cooler heads prevailed. Kruger had a decent outing in his limited time, recovering a fumble and tipping away a pass on third down.

Kindle gets active

Outside linebacker

Sergio Kindle

was active for the first time this season.

Kindle played primarily on special teams, but got no reps on defense in the first half.

Kindle missed last season after fracturing his skull while falling down stairs at a friend's house just before training camp.

Gurode starts for Grubbs

Andre Gurode

, the five-time

Pro Bowl

center who started at left guard in last Sunday's 37-7 shellacking of the

St. Louis Rams

, made his second consecutive start there.

Gurode was playing for

Ben Grubbs

, who missed his third consecutive game due to strained ligaments in his toe. Grubbs practiced on a limited basis Thursday, but did not participate in Friday's session.

End zone

Rookie wide receiver

Torrey Smith

, who caught five passes for 152 yards and three touchdowns in his NFL debut against the Rams, started against New York. He was filling in for

Lee Evans

, who sat out his second straight contest because of a left ankle injury. The Ravens also scratched safety

Haruki Nakamura

(right posterior cruciate ligament), linebacker

Dannell Ellerbe

(hamstring) and wide receiver

David Reed

(left shoulder strain). … The Jets played without three-time Pro Bowl center

Nick Mangold

. Mangold, who has been hobbled by a high right ankle sprain, will be replaced by rookie

Colin Baxter

. New York also deactivated quarterback

Kevin O'Connell

, wide receiver

Logan Payne

, safety

Emanuel Cook

, running back

Bilal Powell

, fullback

Josh Baker

and defensive tackle

Kenrick Ellis

. … Free safety

Ed Reed

, right guard

Marshal Yanda

and punter

Sam Koch

represented the Ravens for the coin toss. Three former Ravens in linebacker

Bart Scott

, wide receiver

Derrick Mason

and safety

Jim Leonhard

represented the Jets.

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