OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Ten months after completing a championship run with no interceptions in the playoffs, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is on the verge of setting a team record with his next pick.
Flacco's 19 interceptions are tied with Vinny Testaverde (1996) for the most by a Ravens quarterback in a single season. If he is picked off in the regular-season finale at Cincinnati, the reigning Super Bowl Most Valuable Player will break the 17-year-old team mark.
"I’ve told you before: I don’t like throwing interceptions," Flacco said. "But, at this point, it is what it is. I can’t do anything about the ones I’ve thrown. I’ve just got to go out there and play this game, make sure we get a win, and don’t worry about really anything else. You guys know, it’s never good to throw interceptions and put your team in a bad position. Like I said, if I dwell on that, then I’m not going to give ourselves a good chance to win in this game right here. So, that’s all I’ve got to worry about.”
Flacco helped the Ravens to a Super Bowl title by becoming second quarterback in NFL postseason history to throw 11 touchdowns and no interceptions (he joined Joe Montana). This led to Flacco's six-year, $120.6 million contract in March.
In each of the past four seasons, Flacco and Aaron Rodgers were the only quarterbacks to pass for at least 3,600 yards and 20 touchdowns while throwing 12 interceptions or less. That streak ended for Flacco in Week 10 in Chicago, where he threw his 13th interception of the season.
While Flacco has admittedly made some bad decisions, not all of the interceptions can be put on him. He was put in a tough situation this season when his two top receivers were gone by the start of the season. Wide receiver Anquan Boldin (who is 17th in the NFL in receiving) was traded to the San Francisco 49ers for a sixth-round pick, and tight end Dennis Pitta dislocated his hip in training camp which forced him to miss the first 12 games of the season.
There has been less time for Flacco in the pocket as compared to the playoffs. He has been sacked 46 times, which is second-most in the NFL.
All of this, including Flacco's bad habit of throwing into coverage, has led to the the fourth-most interceptions in the league. Only Eli Manning (26 interceptions), Carson Palmer (21) and Geno Smith (21) have been picked off more.