Joe Flacco: Offense Has 'A Lot To Work On'


Joe Flacco didn't mince words about the offense's performance after Sunday's loss in Denver.

"We really didn't do anything the whole game," Flacco said.

Last year, the Ravens had their best offensive season in franchise history. On Sunday, in front of their departed offensive coordinator, Gary Kubiak, Baltimore's offense laid a stinker out of the gates.

The Ravens put up just 38 yards of offense in the first half, despite having the ball first and getting five drives. That's the fourth-fewest yards in a first half in franchise history. Baltimore finished with just 179 yards of total offense.

Flacco threw a game-changing pick-six in the third quarter and finished the day 18-for-32 for 117 yards, no touchdowns, two interceptions* *and a quarterback rating of 38.2. It was his lowest single-game quarterback rating since Oct. 2, 2011 against the New York Jets.

Just when the offense started to find some momentum, it ended the day with a game-sealing dropped pass and interception in the end zone on back-to-back plays.

"We've got a lot to work on, obviously," Flacco said. "We're a lot better than that."

So what went wrong for the Ravens? Flacco simply said, "A lot of things."

It started with trouble running the football. The Broncos defensive line got too much penetration, collapsing running lanes before they could open.

Running back Justin Forsett had eight carries for 13 yards in the first half. Rookie backup Javorius Allen found a little more success with three runs for 15 yards, but it wasn't sustained.

It didn't help that starting left tackle Eugene Monroe left the game on the first drive due to a concussion, bringing second-year James Hurst, the former undrafted rookie who started seven games last year.

The job of shutting down Broncos' Pro Bowl outside linebackers DeMarcus Ware and Vonn Miller was a tall task. Ware and Miller got frequent pressure around the edges, making Flacco feel uncomfortable in the pocket and often throwing as he was hit, particularly in the first half.

"We've got to spread them out more and not let them pin their ears back and come after us," Flacco said. "I don't think we ever got those guys out of rhythm. They were able to play downhill in the run game and get after the quarterback without any repercussions."

The lack of rushing* *success left the Ravens in too many second- and third-and-long situations, allowing Denver's pass rushers to come after Flacco knowing he had to pass.

It was also difficult to convert in those situations because the Broncos didn't have much to fear in the deep passing attack, and weren't even tested. The Ravens' longest completion was for 22 yards to Marlon Brown on a back-shoulder throw. They didn't throw any other vertical passes.

With rookie first-round wide receiver Breshad Perriman still out with his knee injury, the Ravens don't have any wideouts known for their speed. Flacco said he was still confident in his targets to be able to make big plays, however.

"We want to stretch the field more, but you've got to create the time and you've got to run the ball," Flacco said.

While the pressure certainly affected Flacco, he was also off-target on several key throws. On the first drive, it looked like he had Kamar Aiken open for a first down, but missed. There was a deep comeback to Steve Smith Sr. that Flacco tossed high and wide.

His third quarter interception was the back breaker given how well the defense was playing, particularly at that point. Flacco locked in on Smith coming across the middle and threw it despite cornerback Aqib Talib cutting inside the route.

Flacco and Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, both former Super Bowl MVPs, threw pick-sixes.

"Well, we did have two touchdown passes to the other team, but other than that yeah, it was an ugly one, and it wasn't too fun to be a part of," Flacco said.

The Ravens didn't get the ball moving until their final drive of the game when they began* *targeting new starting tight end Crockett Gillmore. He opened the drive with a 9-yard gain over the middle, then hauled in a 14-yard pass to convert on fourth down near midfield. That opened up Forsett's longest rumble of the game around the right side for 20 yards.

But when Flacco needed one of his pass catchers to make a play most for him, they came up just short. Smith had a lofted pass to the end zone go off his hands and Gillmore momentarily had another lob in his grasp in the end zone, but it was broken up and picked off by former Ravens safety Darian Stewart.

"I was given the opportunity and I've just got to come up with the play," Gillmore said. "I've got to win the one-on-one part of it. The ball's there, it's got to be mine. There's no other option."

Flacco took some solace from being in position to win the game, although that was not much to the offense's credit.

"That is all that we can ask for in that situation, to play as bad as we really did on offense and then have a shot like that at the end," he said.

"A pretty poor showing, but you got to keep your head up and you got to move on quick because in this league the next one comes up on top of you like that, so we've just got to make sure we stay confident and bounce back as soon as possible."

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