Joe Flacco: I Put Defense In Bad Positions


Joe Flacco wasn't interested in pointing the finger at anyone else after Sunday's loss to the Bengals.

The Ravens quarterback struggled throughout the contest, and he shouldered the blame for tossing a pair of costly second-half interceptions.

"I think our defense stood strong and did their job," Flacco said. "I put them in some bad positions."

Flacco threw interceptions on back-to-back drives to open the second half, and the two turnovers led to 10 points for the Bengals. He finished the game 17-of-34 passing for 195 yards with no touchdowns and the two interceptions.

It was his worst statistical outing of the season, and he finished with a quarterback rating of 43.1

Flacco's final numbers would have looked much better if the 80-yard touchdown pass to Steve Smith Sr. had stayed on the board instead of getting wiped off by an offensive pass interference call. Instead of harping on that penalty call, Flacco criticized himself for the Ravens getting into a deep second-half deficit after the interceptions.

"There were plenty of other things that happened throughout the course of the game – opening up in the second half with those two turnovers, obviously, those were big," he said. "You can't do that."

Both of the interceptions came on passes intended for wide receiver Torrey Smith.

On the first turnover, Flacco tried to force a pass into a tight window where Smith was surrounded by four defenders. Linebacker Emmanuel Lamur was underneath defender and snagged the interception.

"There was a lot of room over there, and I thought I had a hole, but it probably wasn't as much as I thought," Flacco said.

The second interception came after Smith got jammed at the line of scrimmage by cornerback Adam Jones. Smith took a blow to the head on the play, forcing him to stop on his route after taking the shot. Flacco tossed the pass just as Smith stopped, and it was an easy interception for Jones.

"The interception on Torrey's thing was as freaky as you can get," Head Coach John Harbaugh said.

Sunday's game continued an unfavorable trend for Flacco in Cincinnati.

The Queen City hasn't been kind to Flacco, and the seven-year quarterback has struggled at Paul Brown Stadium throughout his career. The Ravens have lost three straight road games to the Bengals, and Flacco hasn't topped 200 passing yards in Cincinnati since his rookie season.

Here are his stat lines from those last five games (the 2012 game was excluded because Flacco mostly rested that game as the Ravens had already clinched a playoff spot).

2014: 17-of-34, 195 yards, no touchdowns, two interceptions
2013: 30-of-50, 192 yards, one touchdown, three interceptions
2011: 15-of-19, 130 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions
2010: 17-of-39, 154 yards, one touchdown, four interceptions
2009: 18-of-32, 195 yards, no touchdowns, two interceptions

The good news for Flacco and the Ravens is that he has a track record throughout his career of bouncing back the week after tough games. His best game of this season – a five-touchdown effort against Tampa Bay – came after a tough outing in a loss to the Colts.

The Ravens hope for a similar bounce back next week when they travel to Pittsburgh for a pivotal rivalry game.

"If we don't turn the ball over, then we're going to be a tough team to beat," Flacco said.

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