Some teams like to take advantage of their quarterback's mobility, whether that be through a series of designed running plays or something as simple as a sneak in short-yardage situations.
Forty-year-old Tom Brady converts the third-and-short quarterback sneak with ruthless efficiency but there are obvious downsides to this strategy. Namely: unwanted hits on your team's most important player.
That point was brought home loudly Thursday night when Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco ran for a first down before ending the play when he slid feet first. Except that Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso officially ended things , dislodging the quarterback's helmet and forcing him from the game with a concussion.
Afterward, Alonso said there was.
Flacco's injury wasn't the result of a designed play but came while the quarterback tried to salvage a play that had initially broken down. And right up until the moment he was blasted by Alonso, Flacco had succeeded. Now he's in the league's concussion protocol.
Flacco's injury came a day after his AFC North rival, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, had campaigned to run more quarterback sneaks in short-yardage situations. When apprised of Roethlisberger's remarks, offensive coordinator Todd Haley said with a smile, "Maybe we'll have to get it in."
Haley, via Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, then added: "Those are kind of general staff decisions. Some staffs choose not to let people earhole their quarterback in the side of the head. Other staffs take that risk at times. There is risk-reward with everything you do."
And while you don't have to have the athleticism of Carson Wentz to run a quarterback sneak (see Brady, Tom), Roethlisberger isn't anywhere close to as mobile as he was early in his career, when much of his success in the passing game was because of his escapability in the pocket. Plus, standing five yards behind him in the backfield is a young man named Le'Veon Bell, who is more than willing to run the ball, regardless of the down and distance.