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Joe Flacco Took More Hits Than O-Line Wanted

Posted Sep 18, 2012

The young offensive line allowed the Eagles front to apply second-half pressure.


Quarterback Joe Flacco spent much of the second half in Sunday’s 24-23 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles under duress. He was hit, pressured and sacked, which contributed to the struggles in moving the football and putting up points.

"Joe got hit a few times more than I would want him to get hit, but that’s a pretty good pass rush team,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said after the game.
 
The pressure on Flacco primarily came through right tackle Kelechi Osemele and left guard Ramon Harewood, according to the statistical website Pro Football Focus.  
 
Osemele allowed one quarterback hit and four quarterback hurries, while Harewood allowed two QB hits and two hurries – a total of nine pressures.
 
By comparison, Harewood and Osemele combined to allow just three total pressures in the season opener against Cincinnati.
 
The Ravens finished the day allowing Flacco to get sacked twice, hit six times and hurried nine times. He dropped back to pass 49 times in the game, meaning that 35 percent of his throws came while he was under pressure. Eagles quarterback Michael Vick was under pressure on 28 percent of his throws, according to Pro Football Focus.
 
"At times there were one-on-one matchups that got us a little bit in the second half, especially that were pretty good players rushing against some younger guys,” Harbaugh said during Monday’s press conference. "That is going to be part of the learning process for some of those guys.”
 
The Ravens decided to go with Osemele and Harewood – both young, athletic linemen – in the starting lineup this season to match the new up-tempo offense. Sunday’s game was just the second NFL contest for both of them, and they had the difficult task of defending an Eagles’ front regarded as one of the best in the NFL.
 
"We’re not going to just step in there and be lights out,” Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda said about the line. "There are going to be some mistakes. We have some young guys in there, and I can remember when I was a young guy, I made mistakes. It happens, you know. We’re behind Ramon and KO and everybody.”
 
In addition to the second-half pressure on Flacco, Ray Rice and the running game also struggled to get established after halftime. Rice had two more carries in the second half, but not even half of the production.
 
Rice had nine carries for 21 yards in the second half, an average of 2.3 yards per rush. That’s a stark contrast from his 78 yards on seven carries – 11.1 yards per rush – in the first half.
 
Despite some struggles on Sunday, Harbaugh said that the group played "pretty well” overall and Yanda emphasized that they are still confident in their younger pieces. The focus now is to correct the mistakes for this week’s game against New England.
 
"It’s a thing where we’ll keep working to get it corrected and we’ll keep moving forward,” Yanda said. "It’s Week 2, nobody is panicking."

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