Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco wasted no time putting last weekend's loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers – and the worst statistical showing of his young career – behind him.
Even though the 13-9 defeat ended well into Sunday evening, Flacco was at the Ravens' facility early Monday morning.
In fact, by the time head coach John Harbaugh spoke with him at 9:30 a.m., the first-round draft pick had already watched tape from the Pittsburgh game and had already begun looking at film of the Dallas Cowboys, whom the Ravens take on this Saturday night.
"He's a rookie, [but] that's indicative of where our football team is," Harbaugh said. "So our guys have moved on. You take the emotions and throw them away. You learn from the corrections, and let's go play."
Granted, it was a forgettable outing for Flacco. He finished with a 39.3 completion percentage (11-of-28), only 115 passing yards and a 22.2 passer rating – all season lows. Flacco also took two sacks and tossed two interceptions.
But the game is now in Flacco's rearview mirror. Just like he didn't dwell on the previous eight games, where he was 7-1 and boasted a 95.6 passer rating as a starter, Flacco is looking to learn from his Steelers' troubles and then leave them.
"It was a tough game," said Flacco. "That's what games are going to be in December in the NFL. Believe me, we learn something from every game. We're going to go back and look at the film and take something from this game, also."
Flacco especially wanted back a fourth-quarter play with the Ravens holding on to a slim 9-6 lead. On third-and-8 on Pittsburgh's 27-yard line, the quarterback was sacked by linebacker Lawrence Timmons and fumbled the football. Even though Baltimore recovered, it was on the Steelers' 41, effectively pushing the Ravens out of field goal range.
The ensuing punt set the Steelers up to march 92 yards for a game-winning touchdown drive.
"I was sliding to my left, sliding to my left and wanted to get rid of the ball," Flacco explained. "That's what you've got to do in that situation – get rid of the ball so you give yourself at least a chance to get the field goal."
Harbaugh pointed to the responsibility of the entire offense to help the rookie improve.
"Joe's quarterback rating was obviously one of the lower ones he's had this year, and he'd be the first to tell you that he, as well as everybody else, can play better," Harbaugh said. "And that's what we need to do. We need to coach better, play better, and every single guy around Joe make Joe better."
Reed Earns Ed Block Award
Safety Ed Reed will be the Ravens' Ed Block Courage Award winner for the 2008 campaign.
Reed was faced with a tough decision at the beginning of the year after he was diagnosed with a nerve impingement in his neck. Reed's options were to elect to have season-ending, and possible career-ending neck surgery to repair the impingement, or skip the surgery and rehab the injury while playing the season.
Opting to suit up and play, Reed has turned in a career year, leading the team with five interceptions for 191 return yards, including an NFL-record 107-yard return for a touchdown Nov. 23 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Reed has notched three return touchdowns this year, the last one coming in Week 14 in a win over the Washington Redskins on a 22-yard fumble return. Last week, Reed recovered his second fumble of the season.
Should Reed be considered an NFL Defensive Most Valuable Player candidate?
"I'm probably biased in Ed Reed's favor, but I'll take Ed Reed any day of the week," Harbaugh said. "He's had a tremendous year, and he's surrounded by a really good supporting cast on defense. I know all those guys have made him better, and he's made those other guys better. So, we're pretty proud of Ed Reed."
Cornerback Fabian Washington left the game last Sunday after pulling a hamstring, but Harbaugh remained optimistic that he would play against the Cowboys.
"We expect Fabian to be OK," the coach stated. "He's going to be working on it, and he should be OK."
The Ravens will continue to monitor the other currently injured Ravens, which includes rookie running back Ray Rice (leg contusion), linebacker Jarret Johnson (calf) and fullback Le'Ron McClain (neck).
"We have a lot of guys coming out of that game with bumps and bruises - or the previous game in Ray's case - with different little things," Harbaugh continued. "Just like you'd expect in December. That's where we are. We'll have them ready for Saturday night."
The Ravens reported to team headquarters Tuesday for meetings and a brief walk-through that was closed to the media. Baltimore will leave Friday for the nationally-televised NFL Network Saturday Night Football contest. The game will be shown locally in Baltimore on WBAL-TV Channel 11 or 21. … It will be the final game played at Dallas' Texas Stadium, which will likely feature many former Cowboys stars celebrating the venue's historic closing. "I think the Baltimore Ravens have a chance to be a part of football history," Harbaugh said. "It's a great old stadium. A lot of tradition, and you feel it when you walk in there. Tremendous crowd, very energetic place, and when you see the hole in the roof, you feel like, 'Wow, this is the NFL.' So we'll be looking forward to going in there and ushering it out the right way." … Amid claims from Pittsburgh punter Mitch Berger that that Ravens cornerback Frank Walker spit in his face following the extra point on the Steelers' last-minute, game-winning touchdown, Harbaugh defended his player. "That's the first I heard that," the coach stated. "I don't believe it for one second. Frank Walker wouldn't do it. None of our players would do it. I don't believe it for one second." Walker was not available for comment Monday.