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John Harbaugh: Joe Flacco Is 'Tougher Than A $2 Steak'


Joe Flacco felt fine with the condition of his surgically-repaired knee heading into Sunday's regular-season opener, but he knew it hadn't truly been tested.

Via nine quarterback hits, including one low shot that drew a 15-yard penalty, Flacco's left knee certainly got the examination it needed from the Buffalo Bills in Week 1.

Flacco came out of the game just fine, looking no worse for the wear.

"Joe is as tough as a $2 steak," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "My brother didn't come up with that, either. It's from an old western, just for the record."

Flacco didn't miss a snap in training camp, but he also wore the red non-contact jersey. He only played in one quarter of one preseason game, and Flacco said he didn't really take any hits.

"As much moving and running around as I've done on it, and playing in the [third] preseason game, I didn't really take any hits on it," Flacco said.

"I think it held up well. I had some hits around my legs and some hits up top, and I was really happy with how it felt. … It feels good."

While Flacco came out just fine, the Ravens certainly don't like seeing him hit so many times. Of the nine hits, four were sacks, including two from the Bills' best pass rusher, outside linebacker Jerry Hughes.

"We sure want to protect our quarterback better than that," Harbaugh said. "When you're going against this defense, that's always the number one task. It's always a challenge. I'm sure there's plenty of things we could have done better."

The grades have yet to come out and tape has yet to be watched, but Baltimore allowed pressure up the middle. The Ravens also made history with two rookies starting on the left side of the offensive line in Week 1. It's the first time that has happened since 1995 – 21 years ago.

First-round left tackle Ronnie Stanley and fourth-round left guard Alex Lewis had their hands full with an exotic and aggressive blitz scheme from Bills Head Coach Rex Ryan.

Stanley said he wasn't surprised by anything in his first NFL regular-season game. He said he knew Ryan's scheme would be challenging, and felt well prepared.

"[It's] just being more consistent. I think I played well for the most part, and there were some points where I slipped up on something technically. I know what those things are," said Stanley, who was flagged 5 yards for a false start in the first quarter.

"It was really cool [playing with Lewis], especially knowing that we're able to play in this league, to pick up defenses. We're both smart and physical players. We just need to be more clear-minded and be more consistent like the vets have been."

Still, it's not a good feeling looking back and seeing Flacco on the ground.

"Your heart kind of sinks for a second," Stanley said. "We all understand the value that he has and how important he is. But we all know how tough he is and he's a competitor, and he's not going to stay down unless something serious is happening."

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