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Sack-Strip On Joe Flacco Costs Ravens Again

Posted Dec 2, 2012

The Ravens quarterback said he was about to tuck the ball when he was hit by James Harrison.

The last time the Ravens lost at M&T Bank Stadium two years ago, a sack/strip made the difference.

Flash forward and another fumble by quarterback Joe Flacco played a pivotal part in Sunday's 23-20 loss – the Ravens' first loss at home in 15 games.

In 2010, it was a blindside hit by safety Troy Polamalu. This year, it was a hit from behind by outside linebacker James Harrison.

The Ravens had a seven-point lead with less than 10 minutes remaining. They were coming off an interception by safety Ed Reed in the end zone that kept them ahead.

Baltimore faced a third-and-5 situation and sent four receivers out wide. Flacco was in the shotgun, yet said everybody downfield was covered.

Harrison turned the corner against left tackle Michael Oher and came from behind to whack Flacco's right arm. The ball popped out and Steelers defensive end Ziggy Hood pounced on it.

"I was getting ready to tuck it and chalk [the play] up as a loss," Flacco said. "The guy came around and hit my wrist, he hit the ball and just got it out. I tried to hold on, but I couldn't."

Harrison said he set up the move throughout the game, and was happy Flacco still had the ball.

"I had been bull-rushing all game," Harrison said. "Basically, I set up the same way, as I was going to bull-rush, and I just slapped hands. I just hand played [Oher] outside. Flacco held onto the ball a little longer than normal, and I was able to get my hand in there."

The Steelers only got three sacks in the game, but turned up the pressure in the second half.

"You block and block and block, then it's a sack/strip/caused fumble," Oher said. "He's a good player. He made a play."

Flacco had 11 fumbles last year and lost a career-high six. He had done a better job of it this season, entering Sunday's game with five fumbles and just one lost.

"I was trying to take one for the team there," Flacco said. "I probably should've gotten down."

The fifth-year quarterback had a tough day that extended beyond the fumble.

He finished 16-of-34 for 188 yards, one touchdown, one interception and one fumble, giving him a quarterback rating of 61.9. Meanwhile, Steelers third-string quarterback Charlie Batch went 25-for-36 for 276 yards, one touchdown and one interception (89.6 quarterback rating).

The Ravens offense put up just 97 total yards in the second half. Baltimore had three punts, one touchdown and one fumble.

Flacco said the offense didn't put itself in good third-down situations and was hurt by pre-snap penalties in the second half. He also said he thought they missed opportunities early in the game to take a bigger lead.

"I thought we could have put up 30 or 40 points today," Flacco said. "I felt pretty good out there today. We had room to take advantage of some things. We just weren't able to do it."

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