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Joe Flacco Has Successful Preseason Return


Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco took his first contact in nine months on his very first drop-back of Saturday's preseason game.

As a Lions defender came charging off the edge, running back Justin Forsett was pushed back into Flacco's lap. The quarterback still stepped up and launched a deep pass.

The pass fell incomplete – it was a tad too far out of Mike Wallace's reach – but it was a good sign for Flacco.

Flacco was was bothered by the fact that he didn't complete the pass, proof that his mind is far from focused on his injured knee.

"We had a touchdown right there for the first play of the game if I hit Mike there," Flacco said. "But it was definitely good thinking back about it. I didn't even think about it."

In his first game back from ACL surgery, Flacco had a successful night. He took contact without showing any trepidation, came out without injury and found some rhythm with his receivers.

Flacco went 11-for-16 for 94 yards in one quarter of action. He led the Ravens on a field-goal drive to open the game.

"I thought he looked good," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "I felt good about how Joe looked, how he operated."

After Flacco's incompletion on his first throw, he converted on a quick slant pass to Kamar Aiken for a 15-yard gain. Flacco then hit Wallace with a perfect 20-yard pass that Wallace snatched as he shed a defender over the middle. Another 9-yard pass to Aiken and 4-yard dump-off to Forsett put the Ravens in range for a 40-yard field goal.

Flacco faced a little more adversity on his second drive.

After a 12-yard completion to Wallace over the middle, Flacco was sacked by a familiar face: former Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. The good news is Flacco got up like nothing happened. As Flacco said before the game, he didn't want to get hit, but it wouldn't necessarily be the worst thing if he did.

"I was moving around and I just dove into a hole because the play was over at that point," Flacco said. "So I really didn't get touched today, the way I view it. I went back there and it was a pretty clean 20-some plays."

The Ravens pushed to Detroit's 44-yard line and opted to go for it on fourth-and-3. Flacco and Wallace weren't on the same page as Wallace broke off his route and Flacco's pass floated well beyond him for an incompletion and turnover on downs.

While Flacco and Wallace connected three times for 37 yards, the quarterback and free-agent addition still have kinks to work out.

"I missed a couple throws to him," Flacco said at halftime. "I think we left a few opportunities out there, including another one to Kamar. But all in all, as I said from the beginning, I am really impressed with the way Mike runs routes and catches the ball. I am really pleased with him."

Harbaugh said the Ravens have to "continue to get our passing game oiled up," but is pleased to see Flacco back at the helm and his receivers making plays.

Flacco said Saturday night's game felt pretty much like any other. Now he and the offense will be specializing on their preparation for the Buffalo Bills on Sept. 11 back at M&T Bank Stadium.

"It was fun to get back out there and feel part of the team again," Flacco said. "We've put all the work in at this point; we've got to have confidence that we're ready to go."

Go down on the field with the Ravens as they battle the Colts in the third game of the 2016 preseason.

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