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Road Woes Continue For Joe Flacco, Offense

Posted Oct 21, 2012

Quarterback Joe Flacco said he doesn’t have an answer for poor play on the road.

There’s been a definite trend thus far this year with quarterback Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense.

When it has hit the road, it has struggled.

Flacco had his roughest game of the year Sunday in Houston.

He completed just 21 of 43 passes for 147 yards and threw two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown) to just one touchdown. Flacco’s 45.4 quarterback rating is his lowest in over a year, dating back to Oct. 2 against the New York Jets.

Flacco entered the game with a 106.6 quarterback rating at home this year and 62.4 on the road. The disparity will grow even wider after Sunday’s loss.

When asked what the difference is when on the road versus at home, Flacco didn’t credit the trend.

“I don’t really have an answer for you,” he said. “I think that’s just the way it worked out. These guys are a good team. We didn’t play up to the level that we expect to.”

The Ravens scored just six points in the second half in a Week 2 road loss against Philadelphia. They failed to score a touchdown in Kansas City in a 9-6 win in Week 5.

Baltimore put up just 179 total yards of offense in Houston. It entered averaging 385 yards per game.

Harbaugh was asked if he was concerned about the offense’s road woes.

“I’m concerned about everything,” he said. “You can talk about pretty much everything today. What aren’t you concerned about?”

The Ravens did have success on their first drive. They quickly moved to Houston’s 33-yard line after just five plays, including a Ray Rice run of 17 yards. But Baltimore stalled out and settled for a 51-yard field goal by Justin Tucker to take a 3-0 lead.

After that, it quickly went downhill.

The Ravens had a three-and-out on the next drive. They then started in the shadow of their own end zone on their third drive and linebacker Connor Barwin came unblocked off the edge to sack Flacco for a safety.

Flacco’s next throw was deflected at the line by defensive end J.J. Watt and intercepted by cornerback Johnathan Joseph, who took it to the end zone. Houston’s defense put up its first nine points and continued to pour it on throughout the game.

“They weren’t doing things that we didn’t expect,” Flacco said. “They were coming at us and doing what they do, and we knew what they were doing. We probably didn’t execute as well as we should have.”

Tipped passes were a problem throughout the day. Watt, who is nicknamed “J.J. Swatt” because of his knack for batting down balls, entered the game with a staggering eight tipped passes and added two more against Baltimore. The Texans had six pass deflections at the line of scrimmage, two more than the Ravens had altogether. Houston got its hands on 11 balls total.

Head Coach John Harbaugh said the Ravens offensive linemen worked on getting defenders’ hands down but “were unable to do that.” Harbaugh said he was disappointed in that.

“They’re big guys. They do a good job of it. Sometimes they stopped rushing the quarterback and tried to get their hands up,” Flacco added.

“There’s really not much you can do. You try to get on them and you try to do all that. You have to just trust that the ball’s going to get to where it’s going to be if we have guys open. ... We’ve got to take a look at it and see where we can maybe prevent it a little better.”

The tipped passes and pressure Houston was getting may have affected Flacco’s accuracy, which wavered more as the game went on.

Flacco took eight hits, including a number of big shots to the ribs. He was sacked four times.

Because of the big deficit the Ravens had to fight out of, they also had to mostly rely on passing the ball in the second half to try to score quickly. That left Houston’s pass rushers pinning their ears back and taking shot after shot on Flacco.

“They played well. We didn’t,” Flacco said. “They’re a good defense. They played physical, they played fast. And we just weren’t able to necessarily stand up to it today and give it a good fight.”

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