Wednesday, October 23, 2013
QB Watch: Ravens' Joe Flacco
By Jamison Hensley
A weekly examination of the Ravens' quarterback play.
Rewind: It's becoming a bad trend for Joe Flacco, who continues to get off to slow starts. This past Sunday, he threw for only 90 yards in the first half and averaged 5.6 yards per attempt. For the second straight week, Flacco's best quarter was the fourth. He was 9-of-10 for 60 yards and a touchdown against the Steelers as he tied the game with 1:58 remaining. He finished with a 97.1 passer rating, his second highest of the season. Where Flacco has turned things around is in limiting his mistakes. Since throwing a career-high five interceptions, Flacco has been picked off once in his past three games, and that one interception was the result of getting hit from behind after a missed block.
Fast-foward: The Ravens are on their bye week.
Missing the deep pass: Flacco's biggest mistake was missing a wide-open Jacoby Jones deep. He underthrew Jones, which allowed cornerback William Gay to break up the pass. Flacco still has zero touchdowns on passes 20-plus yards downfield this season, according to ESPN Stats & Information. In four playoff games last season, Flacco had four touchdowns of more than 20 yards. This season, Flacco has completed 25.7 percent of his passes that have traveled at least 20 yards in the air. That's the 11th-worst completion rate on such throws this season.
Prediction: History says Flacco will have success coming off the bye because he faces two division teams, at Cleveland and home against Cincinnati. Since he entered the league in 2008, Flacco is a combined 17-4 against the Ohio teams. He has thrown 22 touchdowns and 15 interceptions for an 85.8 passer rating. But it will be a challenge against the Browns and Bengals, both of whom rank in the top half of the NFL in pass defense.