Wednesday, October 16, 2013
QB Watch: Ravens' Joe Flacco
By Jamison Hensley
A weekly examination of the Baltimore Ravens' quarterback play:
Rewind: It was another slow start for Joe Flacco. He was 13-of-26 for 201 yards through the first three quarters, and he was 7-of-8 for 141 yards in the fourth quarter. As Flacco put it, the impressive finish was "too little, too late." The big problem for Flacco was the third-and-longs. He converted first downs on only 2 of 9 third-down passes and was sacked three times on third down. For the second straight week, he was stripped from behind after his left tackle was beaten badly. Flacco finished with 342 yards passing, but the Ravens are 0-3 this season when Flacco throws for more than 300 yards.
Fast-forward: Flacco has won three of his past four meetings with the rival Steelers. Both of his performances last season were average at best. Flacco was held under 190 yards passing each time and made a costly turnover in the last meeting. He had the ball stripped away by James Harrison in the fourth quarter, which led to a game-tying touchdown.
Rough road: It's been tough going for Flacco away from Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium. In three road games, he has completed 54.2 percent of his passes with four touchdowns and eight interceptions. His quarterback rating on the road is 61.6, which is significantly lower than his rating at home (99.3). Flacco has thrown an interception in each of his three road games this season. Last year, he was picked off a total of five times on the road.
Prediction: The Steelers have had a disappointing season, but their pass defense remains one of the best statistically. Pittsburgh has allowed 196 yards passing per game and has given up four touchdown passes, tied for fewest in the NFL. The odds are against Flacco having a strong game at Pittsburgh.