Calais Campbell felt the fans helped spur the Jacksonville Jaguars to a third successive win at Wembley.
There were just 11 minutes remaining when the Baltimore Ravens finally got over midfield, such was their dismal output in a 44-7 shellacking by the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.
For the Jaguars, it was a marked turnaround from the crushing 37-16 loss to the Tennessee Titans a week ago, as they dominated the previously unbeaten Ravens to leave them with a 2-1 record for the season.
For Jaguars’ defensive stud Calais Campbell, the bounce-back was a matter of pride after head coach Doug Marrone threw down the gauntlet.
Campbell, who inked a four-year $60 million contract after arriving from the Arizona Cardinals in the spring, said: “We have a lot of talent and we want to figure out how good we can be.
“The coach challenged us to see how good we can be. Today was a good step in the right direction to show what we can do when we do it right. There is a lot of football to be played and this is just one big game, but this just shows what we can do. If we sell out and take care of the small things, we understand how good we can be. We sold out and had a better day at the office than last week.
“The thing about football is all that matters right now. Every team is evenly matched and it is just about who plays the football on the day. This defensive line takes a lot of pride in what we do.”
At 31, Campbell is adding veteran leadership to a young Jaguars team, but this was his first trip to Wembley and he admitted: “The jet-lag was tough. I listened to the coaching staff and the players that have done it before. A lot of players on the sidelines have experienced it and they gave me a lot of advice.
“But the team likes coming here. I do believe there are a lot of fans here that show a lot of love to the Jaguars and I think playing here for the last few years has really made a difference.
“There are a lot of our jerseys in the stands and a lot of energy, and we were able to feed off that. In the tunnel before the game, you could hear all the music and everybody was excited – it was really motivating.”
It was an unhappy first trip to London for the Ravens, however. Baltimore, who went into the game with a 2-0 record and were the bookmakers’ 3.5-point favourites, managed just 15 yards on 21 plays in the first half and were 23-0 down at the interval, with quarterback Joe Flacco completing just four of his 12 passes for a grand total of eight yards. Flacco was replaced by Ryan Mallett at the start of the fourth quarter.
Ravens wide receiver Jeremy Maclin was blunt afterwards. He said: “It was bad, man. It is embarrassing, but at the same time we understand it is a very long season. We have got 16 games and one win doesn’t define us and one loss doesn’t define us. It is all about how you finish at the end of the year and if you are one of six teams in your conference playing for the Super Bowl, that is the ultimate goal here.
“All credit to them. They were ready and came out flying around. They executed better than us in every phase of the game and that’s what happens in the National Football League if you don’t come ready to play. They had a god gameplan – they played some man-coverage with some help over the middle of the field with an alert guy there. Anytime you went across the middle, there were two guys waiting for us. It is our job to adjust but we didn’t do that today.”
To rub salt into the gaping wounds when 37-0 up, the Jaguars produced a successful fake punt.
Maclin was not concerned by the gamesmanship. He added: “I like it. They are playing to win. You can’t be mad at that – it’s football. This isn’t Pop Warner football.”