The Baltimore Ravens got off to a promising enough start this year with a 3-1 record through the first quarter of the season, going into Pittsburgh and coming out with a big divisional win back in Week Four, but it had been almost all downhill from there.
Since going 3-1 to start the season, they subsequently lost four of their next five games to fall to under .500. Quarterback Joe Flacco’s play was doing them no favors during that time either. Which is why a Ravens staff member was assigned to injure his hip and sideline him for a while so that they could make a change at the position.
That’s a joke. I better not see that aggregated anywhere.
No matter how it came about, Flacco missed his first game due to a non-season-ending injury yesterday, which resulted in rookie first-round pick Lamar Jackson making his first-ever start. And securing his first-ever win, though he did so without throwing for a touchdown pass.
In delivering the Ravens’ first win in over a month, defeating the Cincinnati Bengals by a score of 24-21, the Heisman Trophy winner only attempted 19 passes, completing 13 of them for 150 yards. He did throw one interception, but even on that, it was preceded by a skillful play to juke Carlos Dunlap.
I said that he only attempted 19 passes because it is dwarfed by his twenty-seven rushing attempts, which is the most by any quarterback in the Super Bowl era. He rushed for 117 yards on those 27 attempts, most of which were designed runs, which was the most by a quarterback over the past four seasons.
More significantly, he played well enough to provide the Ravens a much-needed win, and his mobility helped rookie running back Gus Edwards find space to run, gaining 115 yards on the ground on 17 attempts along with a score.
The rare win puts Baltimore at 5-5 on the season, and for the moment actually positions themselves back into the postseason, currently slotted as the number six seed. They own tiebreakers against the Bengals, as well as the Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, and Tennessee Titans, all of whom share the same record. They are the only team in that group with a winning record in games against conference opponents.
According to Head Coach John Harbaugh, it’s looking unlikely that Flacco will be able to return to the field in time for the Ravens’ next game at home hosting the Oakland Raiders, but his injury will not require surgery and he may not miss more time after that.
What happens if he wins next week as well and shows more authority in the pocket? Would the team bench Flacco? Would they work on some kind of more formal rotation, or at least a more even distribution of snaps at quarterback? At least allowing Jackson to be on the field without Flacco?