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Week 1 vs. NYJ
Passing: 20 - 38, 248 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: 4 / 2 / 0
Despite getting clobbered on the first play from scrimmage and fumbling the ball, Joe Cool responded like any good quarterback should. He remained poised in the pocket under relentless pressure from the Jets throughout the game. On a 3rd and 10 early in the game, Flacco showed great pocket presence when he stepped up and away from an overload blitz to find Anquan Boldin. Flacco did a consistent job of reading the blitz and finding the single coverage and favourable matchups for his receivers and backs.
The difference in quality between the quarterbacks in this game was evident time and time again as Flacco continued to thrive on third down. Flacco remained calm, stood tall and kept his eyes downfield, finding his receivers for clutch conversions. Flacco showed the kind of trust he has in Boldin and the chemistry they have developed when he lofted a beautiful back shoulder fade pass up to the former Arizona Cardinal in single coverage.
Flacco's only mistake of the game came on a poor throw towards the left side of the endzone when both TE Todd Heap and WR Anquan Boldin were in the same area and the pass was undercut by Antonio Cromartie for an easy interception. Overall, Flacco's play was solid. Not many quarterbacks will play better against this Jets defense all season.
Week 2 vs. CIN
Passing: 17 - 39, 154 yards, 1 TD, 4 INT
Rushing: 3 / 9 / 0
Flacco was downright terrible today. Not just in terms of fantasy football but even in NFL terms he looked a lot like a rookie today. Maybe it was the short week, maybe it was the stifling defense of Cincinnati but Flacco looked terrible for most of the day. He was very indecisive when he 1st took the field. Not because he was getting a lot of pressure but mostly due to bad decisions. That is evident in his 4 interceptions on the day. This is the same Cincinnati secondary that was torn to shreds by Tom Brady the week before. Flacco looked like a baseball pitcher that you knew didn't bring the goods with him early on in the game. ON the 2nd drive he was throwing high and overthrew a couple receivers without giving them a chance to catch the ball. When he wasn't throwing incompletions he managed to connect 4 times...with the DEFENSE!!! Flacco took major steps backward this week and he proved why he is very unreliable as a starter for league owners. Flacco threw 3 of his interceptions in the 2nd half and looked very shaky. It's a shame because he looked solid last Monday Night even if he wasn't scoring a lot of points. A bad day all around.
Week 3 vs. CLE
Passing: 22 - 31, 262 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 4 / -4 / 0
Flacco's first pass of the day was almost a pick six by rookie safety TJ Ward, but the ball deflected off Ward's hands to Derrick Mason for a completion. Just about everything Flacco did after that worked, especially downfield throws to Anquan Boldin, who the Browns defense just couldn't track for some reason. Flacco got a ton of time to throw all day and made nice touch throws to go along with his typical bullet throws. Flacco got hot with a string of completions early and carried that over to his opportunities to hit Boldin deep, including the go-ahead score when the Browns decided to try an ill-fated all out blitz. Flacco could have even had a fourth TD throw to Boldin, but it was barely broken up. He is not as good as he looked this week, but he proved that he isn't as bad as he looked last week either.
Week 4 vs. PIT
Passing: 24 - 37, 256 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: 2 / 1 / 0
In three of his first four games, Flacco has had to deal with very tough defenses in the Jets, Bengals, and Steelers. In this game --- against perhaps the best defense he has faced --- he arguably looked better than he did in his first two. While many expected last week to be his best week (because it was against Cleveland), it is unlikely that many people would have predicted that his second-best game would have come against the Steelers.
While he did make one very bad throw that led to his lone interception, Flacco was on-target for most of the day. The pick came on what appeared to be a "fade-stop" route, but instead of hitting Derrick Mason's back shoulder, the throw was a few yards too far upfield and ended up in the hands of Ike Taylor.
The majority of Flacco's attempts and yards came on short-to-intermediate passes. Due the nature of the Steelers' aggressive, blitzing defense, they tend to be vulnerable in the middle layer as the linebackers and (sometimes) defensive backs attack the pocket while the remaining players stay back to prevent the big play. Attacking this mid-range area means that the offensive line doesn't have to hold blocks as long and the quarterback can make faster, less complex decisions. Flacco definitely benefited from this gameplan.
Week 5 vs. DEN
Passing: 14 - 25, 196 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 5 / 20 / 1
Flacco started out the game hot and in complete command. Backed by a strong running game, Flacco hit the open receiver, worked the short passing game, and mixed in a few long passes as well. He started out 8 for 9 and led the Ravens to 17 quick points. However, after that quick start, Joe Flacco played pretty average football. He finished up 6 for his last 16 and never really got into a rhythm. He continually threw the ball just outside the grasp of his receivers, and just seemed like a different QB once the Broncos adjusted. It almost looked as if the first couple of series were scripted and then after that it all fell apart for Flacco. It didn't matter, as his team was up and he was being asked to merely manage the game and not throw turnovers, which he did a fine job of. He also had a couple big scrambles that gave his team first downs, and he saved his fantasy owners a completely disastrous day with a touchdown run. But again, Flacco was pretty average after the Ravens got 17 points, and even as the 3rd quarter was winding down, the Ravens were still stuck on 17 points and Flacco wasn't doing much to help things.
Week 6 vs. NE
Passing: 27 - 35, 285 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 2 / 5 / 0
The Ravens QB was Mr. Cool in yet another big AFC battle and although the Ravens came up short, he did a nice job of managing the offense and matriculating the offense down the field, keeping Brady on the sidelines. The Patriots defense was worst in the league on 3rd down coming into this game, and Flacco looked to take advantage. He utilized a nice mix of run and pass, eating up the clock and picking up chunks of yardage when needed. His first TD was a 16 yard pass to TE Todd Heap who lined up outside against the safety and pushed his way into the end zone. Flacco's other big play of the first half was a nice run that yielded a huge 3rd down conversion but ended up being reversed after a NE challenge showed him being a half yard shy, setting up a 4th down and forcing a Ravens punt. His 2nd TD of the game went to WR Anquan Boldin for 25 yards down the sideline after a NE turnover and gave Baltimore some breathing room. Flacco tried used his legs on another 3rd down play in the 4th quarter, but failed again to pick up a 1st down on a QB sneak allowing the Pats back in this game. Although the Ravens had this one stolen from them, Flacco's ability to inspire calmness in his offensive unit compliments his steady play and gives this team a consistent and refined identity.
Week 7 vs. BUF
Passing: 16 - 31, 250 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 2 / -1 / 0
Joe Flacco has the kind of day that Quarterbacks need to have in order to be recognized as elite. He had a somewhat productive rushing attack to work with, but Baltimore was playing catch up early in this game and had to lean on the passing game in order to get back into the game. His defense gave up a lot of points early also and he was put into a lot of obvious passing down situations. Despite this, Flacco carried this team with his aerial assault down the field on many scoring drives. He stood tall in the pocket on many occasions and delivered very catchable balls for first downs on numerous occasions. His first touchdown was perfect laser to Heap over the middle on a seam, aided by some questionable safety play. He then began to target Boldin often and looked to him in clutch situations. A Buffalo defender almost had a pick 6 as a result of Flacco locking onto Boldin too often, but he shook this off and found Heap later in the corner of the end zone for a big touchdown. Flacco then also had an easy touchdown pass deep to Boldin from a flea flicker, which left Boldin wide open. Flacco was extremely productive on this day and got everybody involved, especially Boldin and Heap. He still overthrows people on many occasions and misses sometimes easy check downs in the flat, aiming too high but he is definitely an above average Quarterback playing with a ton of confidence right now.
Week 9 vs. MIA
Passing: 20 - 27, 266 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 4 / 7 / 0
Was very accurate on the day. He made all the throws that were needed and on a couple drives he really burned Miami as they marched down the field. His best thro might have been to Derrick Mason in the 2nd half on a nice TD that really pushed the score out 20-10 and made it impossible for Miami to get back into it. Flacco took some big hits in this game. Miami sacked him a few times and he kept getting right back up and never even winced like he might be in pain. That can demoralize a defense or pass rush that is trying to keep the game in check. Miami's secondary still needs work and the one big mistake Flacco made on the day was erased when Sean Smith could not hang on to what surely would have been a pick 6 for Miami and might have turned the game around. Great day overall for Flacco and managed to dodge a huge bullet thanks to Miami.
Week 10 vs. ATL
Passing: 22 - 34, 215 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: 3 / 13 / 0
Joe Flacco had a very uneven game against the Falcons in week 10. The Falcons controlled the ball handily in the first half and Flacco had little time to create any offensive momentum for his team in the first two quarters of the game. The second half didn't start much better as Flacco was intercepted on an underthrown pass just over a minute in to the third quarter. Strangely, it appeared that Flacco needed an entire half of football to warm his arm up. However, Flacco turned things around shortly after the interception. He passed for two second half touchdowns and looked far more crisp after halftime. His best throw came on a dart to Todd Heap that put the Ravens ahead with a minute to go in the game. He also had a key run for 13 yards during the team's first touchdown drive of the second half that showed off his athleticism and decisiveness. Most of Flacco's passes were short passes on crossing routes, slants, and screens as the Ravens tried to loosen up the Falcons front seven and establish the run.
Week 11 vs. CAR
Passing: 24 - 33, 301 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 1 / 0 / 0
One of the few good things about the Carolina Panthers this year has been their pass defense (ranked in the Top 5 in the league). Unfortunately for Carolina, however, Joe Flacco certainly didn't make them look like a top pass defense, throwing for 301 yards and a TD. Although he only had one sole touchdown pass (a beautiful rainbow bomb to the oft missing-in-action T.J. Houshmandzadeh) on the day, Flacco completed 73% of his passes and essentially made it look like he was playing a college team throughout the day. He really seems to be coming into his own as time goes by although the question still remains if he can consistently get it done when the games really matter.
Week 12 vs. TB
Passing: 25 - 35, 289 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: 3 / -2 / 0
Flacco had an efficient game against Tampa Bay. He threw for nearly 300 yards and two scores and mixed in a few big plays with short, intermediate passes that broke down the Buccaneers defense. Flacco took advantage of loose coverage on Derrick Mason early in the game and stuck with him throughout the game. He connected with Mason from 10 yards out for what turned out to be the game-winning score, and took advantage of busted coverage to hit TE Todd Heap for a 65 yard touchdown. His interception came on a great play by Tampa Bay DB Aqib Talib on a ball Flacco tried to force into a tight spot, but aside from that, it was an impressive outing for the Ravens QB.
Week 13 vs. PIT
Passing: 17 - 33, 266 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 3 / 15 / 0
Joe Flacco plays one way against the rest of the league and then another when facing Pittsburgh. In this game, he was his typical "against Pittsburgh" self. He's rather pedestrian numbers-wise, will make a couple very nice throws, but then will make a mistake or two that usually put the game out of reach for Baltimore --- like his INT to Troy Polamalu in the AFC Title Game two years ago. In this game, he made some great touch throws (one to rookie TE Ed Dickson that was bobbled and dropped, a 61-yard pass to Anquan Boldin that led to a touchdown later, and a deep shot to Donte Stallworth) but also some bad mistakes (didn't release the ball soon enough when Troy Polamalu made the play of the game on a sack-strip that led to the Steelers' TD and threw the deciding 4th-and-2 throw woefully short of Dickson). Flacco. In his defense, Derrick Mason typically catches a minimum of 5 balls against Pittsburgh, but he was hurt early on. Todd Heap tweaked a hamstring on the game's first play and also did not return. However, Flacco is far enough into his career that if he's going to be the quarterback of a Super Bowl-caliber team, he's going to have to win this kind of game. He wasn't the reason Baltimore lost, but he definitely didn't take the bull by the horns and carry his team like an "alpha dog" quarterback should.
Week 14 vs. HOU
Passing: 22 - 33, 235 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Flacco played a consistent, error free game on Monday night against the Texans. Despite the Ravens having virtually no offense in the second half, Flacco was able to lead the team to a 28-7 lead on the heels of two touchdown passes to Derrick Mason. Flacco was throwing well all over the field and showed deft touch in connecting with Mason on both scores. While the Ravens' signal caller is not often thought of as one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL, he is quietly putting together an excellent season and has tossed eleven touchdowns against only two interceptions since the teams bye week. Flacco's best pass came on Mason's first touchdown catch. On the play, Flacco correctly read that the Texans safety was shading over to Anquan Boldin's side to compensate for an extra linebacker rushing. Flacco took the snap in the shotgun and rifled a ball between two defenders to Mason on a slant route. Strangely, Flacco was not given many chances to throw in the second half despite completing long passes on two third downs in the fourth quarter. The Ravens decided to pass on second and long twice in the fourth quarter (stopping the clock) yet run on third down, both of which were odd decisions for a team trying to run out the clock. Regardless, Flacco was excellent when called on against the putrid Texans passing defense. Flacco was sacked 5 times in the contest, all of which coming on breakdowns of the pocket and not on instances of him holding the ball too long.
Week 15 vs. NO
Passing: 10 - 20, 172 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 1 / 2 / 0
Flacco wasn't asked to do much, but he was calm and composed in the pocket, and he made no glaring mistakes. His first TD came on a third and long when Ed Dickson was left alone by the defense and did the rest himself after the catch. His second TD came on a perfect wheel route throw to Ray Rice. Flacco should have had a third, but LeRon McClain dropped an easy one, and another TD went by the wayside when TJ Houshmandzadeh couldn't get both feet down in the back of the end zone. Flacco's lack of pocket awareness did fizzle out a few drives when he got sacked, and his production was held down by the Ray Rice-centric game plan on offense. He still salvaged a solid fantasy day and should be a low-end QB1 again next week as long as the weather cooperates in Cleveland.
Week 16 vs. CLE
Passing: 12 - 19, 102 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: 3 / 16 / 0
Joe Flacco took a backseat role to the Ravens rushing attack in this game for the most part, but played a big part when required. Flacco showed the unique connection he has with Derrick Mason on several well executed timing routes to keep the chains moving on third down. Flacco's best pass was on the touchdown to Derrick Mason where he placed the football perfectly over Mason's shoulder in the corner of the end zone and trusted his receiver to get two feet down, which he did. Flacco escaped the rush very well, including a 14 yard scamper not unlike Eli Manning when he got away from pressure in the Super Bowl against the Patriots. Flacco performed at a high level for this offense today.
Week 17 vs. CIN
Passing: 14 - 19, 125 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: 3 / 1 / 0
Running a conservative playbook, that got even more conservative in the 2nd half, as the game became meaningless for Baltimore, Flacco didn't do anything of real significance in this game. He threw his passes short, and his longest pass of the game was a short screen pass to Heap that went for 37 yards. When Flacco did try to go down the field, the Cincy cornerbacks had his receivers blanketed. Flacco has to move on from this game, and he MUST improve if the Ravens have any chance of moving deep through the playoffs. Even in the first half, when there was potentially something to play for, Flacco still didn't look too poised, and was flustered by a very good Cincy defense, who sacked him 4 times and forced one interception, despite the heavy reliance on the rungame.
Week 18 vs. KC
Passing: 25 - 34, 265 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 7 / 26 / 0
While he never seemed to be dominating the game at any point, Flacco's final stat line certainly is impressive. He was extremely efficient, completing passes to seven different receivers even while leaning heavily on his tight end, Todd Heap. He nearly threw a touchdown to Heap on the team's opening possession on two separate occasions. The first was a completed pass to Heap that he took down to the goal line while dragging several defenders along the way. The second was a roll-out pass towards the sideline that Kansas City S Eric Berry made a tremendous play on to tip it away at the last moment. Flacco did manage to pick up a couple of scores later in the game. First, he checked down off of his primary target to find RB Ray Rice from 9 yards out. Rice leaked out into the flat and Flacco tossed it easily over the defense for the short score. His second touchdown wasn't so easy. He found WR Anquan Boldin high over the middle for a leaping grab amongst several Kansas City defenders. Flacco made very few mistakes, though one of them could have been quite costly. With his team leading 3-0, Flacco fumbled the ball away to the Chiefs (a turnover they quickly turned into seven points). Flacco should have recovered the ball easily, but he was so eager to pull it back into his body on the ground that he ended up smacking it right past him underneath his body. Obviously, the Ravens got a few turnovers of their own to sort of even the score, and from there it was pretty smooth sailing for the Baltimore passing game.
Week 19 vs. PIT
Passing: 16 - 30, 125 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: 2 / -1 / 0
Flacco began the game looking like a solid if unspectacular quarterback. He was working the Baltimore model quite well --- don't make mistakes, manage the game, allow the defense to provide solid support. The Baltimore model, however, could actually be stunting Flacco's growth against premier defenses in the league. Flacco shreds poor defenses to pieces when he has time to diagnose them and throw deep. When good defenses cover his first read and then pressure him, he falls back to his checkdowns and dump-offs far too frequently. The Ravens' play-calling sometimes dictates this (for example, two of their most productive first half plays were screens), but Flacco still appears to be a two-read QB. He looks at two receivers --- maximum --- before aborting his progression and finding Ray Rice or Todd Heap on a safety valve-type of throw. Flacco's second half, however, made his checkdown-filled first seem Hall of Fame worthy. The Ravens had more turnovers in their first eight plays of the second half than yards. The debacle was "highlighted" by the worst throw of the game by either QB --- Flacco's huge miss intended for Todd Heap. Heap ran a vertical route down the right seam and was expecting the ball to be on the near-sideline side of his route. Flacco, however, missed the target by 5-7 yards inside and also threw it 5 yards too far. Flacco didn't do anything in this game to help the reputation he had been gaining as an unflappable playoff quarterback --- whether that reputation was justified or not is a different discussion.