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Joe Flacco Wants Offense To Start Faster


Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco could have taken a later bus to AT&T Stadium Saturday night.

Flacco and the offense didn't get on the field until more than an hour into the game, when there was three minutes, 25 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

Once Flacco and the unit took the field, however, it came out of the gates cold.

After a picture-perfect opening drive for the first-team offense in the first preseason game, the Ravens' top unit had two quick punts on its first three drives.

Slow starts were an issue at times last season, and the offense wants to make sure it gets more early momentum this year. After the game, Flacco wasn't blaming the late start for cold offensive play.

"We definitely can't use that as an excuse," Flacco said. "We've got to go out there and we have to click."

Flacco was off-target early. He threw behind wide receiver Jacoby Jones on the first third down, leading to a punt. Jones had a step on his defender on a crossing pattern. That was the end of the offense's only first-quarter drive.

Set up with good field position thanks to a 50-yard kick return by Deonte Thompson on the second drive, the run game got the offense started. Ray Rice cut back to gain 18 yards and a couple more runs put the Ravens in field-goal range.

Flacco tried to hit Steve Smith Sr. on a slant on third down and threw a bit high. Smith got his hands on it, but had a defender draped over him and couldn't hold on for the catch. Kicker Justin Tucker banged a 40-yard field goal through the uprights.

Smith couldn't hang onto another tightly-contested third-down pass on the Ravens' third drive. Flacco tried to hit him on a comeback. Flacco also had a pass deflected at the line of scrimmage when trying to set up a screen pass.

After three drives, Flacco was 1-for-9 passing.

Flacco looked back on the missed third-down pass to Jones on the opening drive as a missed opportunity.

"I think if I would have stuck him in the chest there, that would have kept us on the field on that first drive," Flacco said. "Even though we didn't have two very good plays on first and second down, I think third-down play we should have made that. I think that would have been a big piece of starting off fast."

Flacco and the offense did eventually heat up, and they hit two big plays in the passing game. Flacco threaded a perfect pass to Jones on a skinny post for 38 yards. Then Flacco looped a pass over Torrey Smith's shoulder for a 19-yard touchdown on the very next play.

"I did think that we handled it pretty well and reacted to the slow start and got going a little bit," Flacco said. "But I would have liked to have seen us start better."

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