With the weight of the Super Bowl ring and a huge contract being a burden on him, Joe Flacco has struggled early on in the season to bring his usual brilliance to the quarterback position for the Baltimore Ravens. Luckily for him, the defense is doing just about enough to make him look less awful than he’s actually been so far.
Flacco wasn’t as terrible as he was against the Brocnos, but his 227 yard performance with one touchdown pass was then what you’d expect from him facing the lowly Cleveland Browns, who once again looked awful, losing 14-6 to the Super Bowl champion and falling to 0-2.
Brandon Weeden wasn’t intercepted, but he also didn’t have any protection. He was sacked five times and was taken to the ground on seven more occasions as the Ravens had absolutely no problem getting by the offensive line and dropping their quarterback.
It’s understandable why the Ravens’ offense has looked bad, or unimpressive to be gentle. Ray Rice left the game with an injury, and hasn’t had the best of starts to the season. Flacco was also hours after his wife gave birth to their second son. He chose to play, and it’s easy to chalk up his mistakes and shaky delivery in some instances to the emotion getting the best of him.
Flacco was 0-for-5 on passes thrown more than 20 yards, making it 2-of-13 for him this season. During the Ravens’ Super Bowl run, Flacco completed 13-of-26 passes of such length with four touchdowns and zero interceptions. While going deep too often isn’t exactly the Ravens’ M.O, one of Flacco’s greatest attributes is his arm strength and making the most of having Torrey Smith to throw to. However, there’s no Anquan Boldin anymore, and the tight end position is also an issue, which is another ‘why’ for the Ravens’ offense to look worse than it should.
The Ravens trailed 6-0 after two field goals by the Browns in the first half, but things looked better later on, scoring a touchdown in each of the second half quarters to come up with the win. The key, according to Flacco, was simply remembering it’s only 6-0 down, nothing more.
We had to take our time and be patient. You know, it was only 6-0. No need to panic or get all crazy.
The defense deserved credit for regrouping after giving up 49 points in week 1. Sure, the Browns’ offense isn’t exactly Peyton Manning and co., and still holding a team to 0 touchdowns in the NFL deserves plenty of credit. Daryl Smith finished with 1.5 sacks and 11 tackles, while Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil added another sack each in a game that was about bringing back some pride they lost.
After that game against Denver, we wanted to come back today and really show what we could do. You have to have a short memory. You never want to out there and play the way we did in Denver. We just couldn’t wait for the next game to come.
We’ll know a lot more about the Raven’s chances in the division after the MNF game between the Steelers and the Bengals, telling us if we’re having a three-horse race for the division title or if the Browns will have company at the bottom.