|With the way he played Monday, Flacco should be happy. (US Presswire)|
Joe Flacco and the Ravens didn't agree to a long-term deal before the season began (even though they apparently were close at one time), meaning he's playing on the last year of a contract that will pay him close to $9 million this season.
At the same time, knowing that Flacco (for better or worse) is the franchise quarterback, Baltimore offensive coordinator Cam Cameron had maintained that Flacco had plenty of control over the offense. This, even though he was coming off the least-impressive season of his career since his rookie campaign and didn't appear to have the power Cameron said he had.
But on Monday, as the Ravens offense dominated Cincinnati in a 44-13 win, Flacco had complete control over just about anything he wanted.
With the exception of two passes that probably should have been intercepted by Cincinnati, Flacco had a shiny performance, completing 21 of 29 passes for 299 yards and two touchdowns in Baltimore's dominating victory. He started it early with a 52-yard bomb to Torrey Smith on the first play of the game, and even after having to wait 50 minutes between his last first-half drive and his first second-half drive, he drilled a 23-yard strike to tight end Dennis Pitta on his first throw of the third quarter.
If the team wanted to send a message with their passing game (ranked 19th last season), the Ravens certainly did.
On one first quarter series, the Ravens ran a non-Ray Rice player three times on either an end-around or a reverse. At the time, Rice only had one carry. He finished with 68 yards on 10 carries. That's a wonderful yards per carry average, but Rice certainly wasn't the star for Baltimore on Monday. That was Flacco, who still saw room for improvement.
“We had little miscommunications here and there that we need to work on,” Flacco said on ESPN after the game. “But we kept the tempo up for the most part. That was huge for the offensive line and their matchups. Later in the game, we started getting some big chunks.”
Yes, the Ravens did.
Hey remember when we all kind of chuckled when Flacco declared he was the best quarterback in the league. With the way he played Monday vs. the Bengals in Baltimore's 31-point win, he might not be far off.
And he might just make himself even more money. Or as coach John Harbaugh said after the game, "Pay him whatever he asks for. Pay the man."