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Joe Flacco Efficient In Beating Steelers


Is what Ravens fans saw on Thursday night from the offense what they should expect moving forward?

The Ravens were off-balance in Week 1 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Joe Flacco threw a whopping 62 passes and completed just 35. He piled up 345 passing yards, put up one touchdown and an interception. He finished with a quarterback rating of 71.0.

In Week 2, the Ravens offense leveled out, and played much more like how new Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak's previous offenses have been described.

Flacco went 21-for-29, a 72.4 completion percentage, for 166 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. It was good for an impressive 109.3 quarterback rating.

"There's no special thing – we played better," Flacco said. "We did the little things right and we made the plays when they presented themselves."

Flacco's 72.4 completion percentage was his highest since Dec. 9, 2012, when he completed 76.2 percent of his passes in a loss to the Washington Redskins. Flacco's highest mark last season was 70.6 percent in Pittsburgh.

Flacco was especially impressive during the Ravens' two touchdown drives. He went a collective 10-for-10 for 84 yards and the two touchdown passes to tight end Owen Daniels on the drives.

Most of his passes were of the shorter variety, as Flacco got the ball out quickly and was more decisive than he was against the Cincinnati Bengals. Flacco's longest gain on either of the two touchdown drives was 24 yards, which was gained mostly on the legs of tight end Dennis Pitta.

The Ravens only took two deep shots the entire game. One resulted in a pass interference call that helped set them up for their first touchdown. The second went incomplete as Flacco and wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. were not on the same page. Smith broke one way and Flacco threw the other.

But overall, the Ravens corrected what went wrong against the Bengals. They played fundamentally sound on offense, a calling card of Kubiak's offenses. Kubiak's system isn't complex, but it requires precision.

"It's the little things," Flacco said. "We did the fundamentals well."

The Ravens also protected Flacco well. Thursday night's game was the first time in 15 career games (including the playoffs) that Flacco was not sacked by the Steelers. It was the first time the Ravens didn't give up a single sack since Dec. 23 against the New York Giants.

"[The offensive line] did a great job," Flacco said. "Any time you can protect the quarterback the way they did and wear a team out and get those running yards late, it's a credit to those guys."

The balance the Ravens offense showed was something Baltimore lacked all last year. The Ravens passed 29 times and ran 36 times on Thursday night, and Flacco was a fan.

"Well it was big, and the big thing was, even if we weren't getting big runs, we were still making plays on third down," he said. "We were still moving the chains.

"As the game went on, and we got that lead, it allowed us to continue to run the ball – that's really when your yardage goes up. When your carries can go up, when you can get the lead late in the game, you really start to pound them. That's what we were able to do tonight."

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