Joe Flacco Hits Bump In Encore Performance


After shredding the Cincinnati Bengals, quarterback Joe Flacco had national praise heaped upon him.

But some pundits had one caveat to becoming "elite." He still had to prove he was consistent.

Flacco started hot in Philadelphia, but he and the offense hit a second-half lull that ended up largely costing Baltimore in a 24-23 loss.

Flacco threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns (128.4 quarterback rating) against the Bengals in Week1. He followed that up by going 22-for-42 for 232 yards, a touchdown and an interception (66.8 quarterback rating) against the Eagles' talented defense.

"In the second half, they did a good job of not allowing us to get in rhythm and forcing us to punt the ball and we didn't do a good job combating it," Flacco said. "We just didn't play well enough in that second half."

The Ravens had a 10-point lead going into halftime and came out with the ball in the third quarter. They picked up one first down, but then Flacco was picked off when trying to force a third-down pass to Pitta. The Eagles converted that into a touchdown that cut the lead to three.

Baltimore then had three straight three-and-outs before an Ed Reed interception at the end of the third quarter. Flacco hit Torrey Smith with a 40-yard pass on the final play of the third quarter, giving the Ravens two first downs in the quarter.

But the Ravens stalled from there, having to settle for a 51-yard field goal. They moved the ball again on their second drive of the fourth quarter and settled for a 48-yard field goal. Those two failed tries to get into the end zone left the door open for the Eagles' game-winning drive.

Flacco completed just eight of 25 pass attempts in the second half.

He said the pressure Eagles cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Domonique Rodgers-Cromartie put on the receivers threw off the offense.

"We completed a couple of balls early on when they had a little bit of off-coverage on some of our guys," Flacco said. "And they started to come up and put some more pressure on us and they were all over our guys in not a very legal way sometimes."

Despite the reasons, the numbers don't look good for Flacco as a follow-up to his stellar Week 1 performance. And it doesn't look good for the offense, which put up 325 net offensive yards to Philadelphia's 486.

Tight end Dennis Pitta was asked by one reporter if he felt there was an offensive regression.

"I don't think there was much of a regression," he said. "There was just some plays that we could have executed and we didn't. That happens. That's part of football. Sometimes the ball just doesn't bounce your way."

And what would he say to Flacco's detractors who say he isn't consistent?

"I think that [those who] say that don't know what they're talking about," Pitta said. "Joe's heard that his whole career. He heard that a whole bunch last year. It's nothing that's going to faze him.

"We understand the highs and lows of this business. Last week everybody had us winning the Super Bowl. This week they're all going to be criticizing our offense. We don't pay attention to it. We know what we have."

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