|Ravens QB Joe Flacco has never missed a game and that's surprising because he will run to make first-down yardage. |
There's a lot to be said for that considering the recent injuries quarterbacks have suffered in the last few weeks. Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel had to miss a game earlier this year due to a concussion.
Ben Roethlisberger (right shoulder), Jay Cutler (concussion) and Michael Vick (concussion) will not play for their respective teams this week after injuries suffered in Week 10.
Then there's Flacco, who's been as durable throughout his short NFL career as any team could hope for. His injury history is short, despite the amount of hits he's taken since being drafted in the first round of the 2008 draft.
"I haven't played too, too long yet, but [I'm] definitely [proud of not missing a game]," Flacco said. "You want to go out there and you want to show up for your teammates every Sunday, and you do everything you can to make sure that happens."
The worst injury Flacco's played through thus far happened to his hip just before the 2009 playoffs. Flacco said he had a tough time preparing for the New England Patriots in the wild card round due to the injury, saying practice was sometimes painful.
But Flacco tolerated the pain and played against the Patriots. Baltimore won that game decisively, thanks to a strong performance from RB Ray Rice, defeating New England 33-14.
"I could drop back and throw pretty comfortably," Flacco said. "But moving around here and there was definitely a little tough that week."
Rice noted that Flacco's one of the stronger quarterbacks he's seen in this league, making a case that his weight room preparation has helped keep him from coming off the field during games.
"Even when he does get hit, you always look back and check on him," Rice said. "And he's getting up. He's ready to roll. That says something about our quarterback."
Prior to this season, Flacco had been sacked 139 times in 2,097 recorded drop backs. That doesn't factor in the amount of quarterback hits and roughing the passer penalties he's absorbed though. This year, Flacco's taken 19 sacks on 328 drop backs.
Quarterbacks can be an open target in football, which has contributed to stricter rules from the NFL. Sometimes it's the way a quarterback takes the hit that's important.
But that's nothing anyone can teach, though. A lot of it is instinct.
"My wife rides horses and she says that when a horse throws you, you are supposed to lean forward and grab the neck, and then when you jump off you are supposed to roll and kind of take the momentum out of it," coach John Harbaugh said. "We have not worked on that drill with Joe. So I'm not sure. But he is durable. He is a tough guy and we've protected him pretty well over the years."
Though Flacco's taken some tough shots over the years, he hasn't sustained a concussion like Cassel, Vick and Cutler recently have. You can call Flacco lucky, considering how vulnerable quarterbacks are in that department.
Flacco's a tall and strong quarterback at 6-6, 245 pounds. His frame alone allows him to withstand the crushing blows he'll occasionally take on a week to week basis. But one thing has become certain. It will take a lot to knock him out of a game.
"I probably think about how fortunate I am to still be standing, but it's the name of the game so I don't put too much thought into it," Flacco said. "It's just the way it is. Fortunately, I haven't had to deal with a head injury like that. Hopefully I have a lot of football left, so you never know. It's a crazy game. It's a game we all choose to play. Sometimes things like that happen -- hopefully just not too often."
Follow Ravens reporter Jason Butt on Twitter @CBSRavens and @JasonButtCBS.