The only play quarterback Joe Flacco blamed his balky left knee on was an unathletic trip when nobody touched him.
Flacco went 22-of-38 for 260 yards, no touchdown passes and two interceptions in Sunday's 41-7 loss to the New England Patriots at M&T Bank Stadium.
It was one of his worst performances of the season, and was rough from the get-go. But Flacco said his left knee injury wasn't the problem.
"The brace didn't affect anything. My knee felt great," Flacco said.
"I probably didn't have the same burst, but it felt good. I felt like I could move on it and run on it and do all kinds of things. It really held up well."
Flacco suffered the knee injury on Monday night when Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy's helmet bent his knee inwards. It was reported to be a "mild" MCL sprain, although that was not confirmed by the team.
Flacco was limited in practice throughout the week, but it was clear he was going to play. He has never missed a start during his six-year NFL career.
He didn't make it the distance, however. Flacco was replaced by backup Tyrod Taylor late in the fourth quarter when the game was well out of reach. Head Coach John Harbaugh said he never considered turning to Taylor earlier in the game.
"I think [Flacco] played well, as far as [he] fought, battled in there," Harbaugh said. "I don't know about the stats or any of the other stuff."
The Ravens starter had a rocky beginning.
He had wide receiver Torrey Smith wide open down the left sideline in the first quarter, but didn't get enough on the pass to hit him. Flacco said he was looking the safety off to create a larger window for Smith, but the big-armed quarterback's pass floundered. It was a missed chance at an early big play.
"I was just kind of standing flat-footed," Flacco said. "The ball didn't come out of my hand badly, but I just didn't get anything on it."
On the Ravens' next drive, Flacco's pass intended for Jones was too shallow. Inside linebacker Donte Hightower, who was underneath in coverage, leaped high to tip the pass and backup cornerback Logan Ryan picked it off. That set up the Patriots for their second touchdown.
"I just thought I could get it over that guy and I didn't," Flacco said.
Flacco was 5-for-10 for 52 yards and an interception in the first half. The start of the second half wasn't much better.
The Ravens marched to New England's 39-yard line on their first drive. Then Flacco missed open tight end Dennis Pitta and Smith, but instead tried to squeeze a ball into Jones on fourth-and-3. It went incomplete and the Ravens turned the ball over on downs.
Flacco tried to hit Pitta on third-and-1 on his next offensive series, but the pass was too wide and bounced off Pitta's hands and right to Ryan for another interception. Flacco now has 18 touchdowns and 19 interceptions this season. Prior to this year, Flacco's season-high in interceptions was 12.
He started to lead a charge late in the fourth quarter and rallied the Ravens to 13 points down with a 1-yard touchdown sneak with nine minutes, 21 seconds left. But Flacco had four straight incompletions on the next drive, essentially ending any hope of another dramatic comeback.
The Ravens offense didn't score a touchdown during the first three quarters, marking a stretch of seven straight quarters without reaching the end zone. It was operating against a Patriots secondary that lost its two starting safeties, Devin McCourty and Steve Gregory, to injuries during the game.
"We really had some room out there, and we were doing some good things," Flacco said. "I mean, if we put the ball in the end zone there [after making the score 20-7], who knows what happens? That didn't happen, then a lot happened afterwards. We didn't play good enough. We got beat."