Flacco’s Audibles Fueled Aerial Assault

Many of the Ravens’ big plays were the result of run-pass checks by Joe Flacco.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Tuesday, September 27th, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Categories: Ryan Mink, Week 3 at Rams

Few people expected the Ravens to pass as much as they did in St. Louis.

Facing a team that was ranked last in the NFL against the run, Baltimore aired it out 48 times. And that was with a 21-point first-quarter lead.

It was the most passes quarterback Joe Flacco had ever attempted in his 58 NFL games.


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While part of the approach was the game plan of attacking the Rams’ injury-plagued secondary, part can also be attributed to Flacco himself.

For those fans who have questioned how much Flacco audibles – which is far more than people realize because it’s done subtly and has been since his rookie year – Head Coach John Harbaugh said many of the passes Sunday in St. Louis were a product of Flacco making a call at the line of scrimmage.

“A lot of those plays are run-pass checks and he gets us into the right play against the right defense,” Harbaugh said. “Joe did a great job of that today.”

Harbaugh said the Rams didn’t bring as much pressure as Baltimore expected, perhaps because St. Louis felt Flacco and the offensive line would pick it up.

But the Rams, intent on trying to stop Ray Rice and the running game, dropped extra defenders toward the line scrimmage.

Flacco recognized it and took multiple deep shots, connecting on two for touchdowns to rookie wide receiver Torrey Smith.

“Joe found them. They were in two high [safeties] and Joe was coming inside with the ball,” Harbaugh said. “They were in single high and we had the nine-routes called and Joe got them outside. I think that’s what your quarterback does.”

The Ravens logged a franchise-record 553 total offensive yards in St. Louis. Flacco threw for a career-high 389 yards.

It was a drastic turnaround from his 15-for-32, 197-yard, two-interception performance in Tennessee, but shouldn’t come as a surprise.

After tossing four interceptions in Week 2 at Cincinnati last year, Flacco responded the next game by completing 71 percent of his passes and tossing three touchdowns, good for a 128.7 quarterback rating.

As Flacco’s record-breaking accomplishments were read off to reporters following his post-game press conference, Flacco simply lowered his eyes and had a blank expression on his face.

The quarterback nicknamed “Joe Cool” didn’t seem surprised or even all that joyous.

“We need to come out here and be aggressive and put it on teams,” Flacco said. “If we lose a game doing that, we lose a game doing that. But you know what? We don’t blink, we turn right around and we get after it the next week. I think that’s what we need to be a Super Bowl caliber team.”

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