The Baltimore Ravens got a win on Sunday, but Joe Flacco didn't love it. The Ravens' defense was stifling, forcing five turnovers, while the offense took a conservative approach. By all appearances it was a dominant win, with the Ravens taking the game in 20-0 fashion. Flacco knows, however, that some work needs to be done if the Ravens will find success in 2017.
"It wasn't that fun to play on offense, just to be honest," Flacco said, per ESPN.com. "I was 9-for-17, and I threw for a hundred and a couple yards. I mean, it's not that fun. I'd rather throw for 350 and win 42-0, not 20-0." Apparently reciting the score jolted Flacco's memory, because he quickly followed up with "but it's fun to win, and that's the most important thing."
By "a hundred and a couple" Flacco is referring to 121 -- his total yardage for the game. The Ravens played extremely conservative, though in spite of that Flacco did throw a pick of his own. He averaged only 7.1 yards per pass, and the Ravens didn't complete a single pass after the half. Flacco sat out the offseason with a back injury, and the plan was clearly to ease him back in. Nine completions and 17 attempts are his lowest career numbers for a regular season start.
Although Flacco may not have felt like himself, new receiver Jeremy Maclin (who caught the touchdown pass that Flacco threw) seemed more than happy with his new quarterback. "Business as usual. He's a professional," Maclin said. "He's going to handle himself like one. You didn't see him being timid. You didn't see him out of his element. This is where he belongs. Everything was smooth."
The touchdown pass Flacco threw is a testament to that lack of timidness. Flacco threw it in the face of a seven-man blitz, making a hot read to Maclin and allowing Maclin to do the rest for the 48-yard score. Flacco himself acknowledged the curve of getting back into the swing of things, along with his own status. "I felt comfortable," he said. "When we're out on that field, it doesn't matter how long you haven't been out there, you feel back at home."
Next week he actually will be back at home, as the Ravens return to Baltimore to face the Browns in their second straight divisional matchup. The Ravens may try to air it out in Flacco's second start back, but it will likely all depend on how Flacco's back looks in practices leading up to the game.