The Ravens season is underway which can only mean one thing. The debates about Joe Flacco’s ability will heat up again. Only this year you can add to the debate the amount of his contract that he received and if he’s living up to it. Something you certainly can’t address after just one week. Especially considering that he was put in a tough spot by injury to Michael Oher and the Ravens defense which allowed 7 TDs. A deficit in the second half that made it impossible to try to get the run game going, making the Ravens one dimensional.
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You can’t judge any player by one week, but we will at least take a look at that one week.
You can point the finger at a number of players responsible for the Ravens collapse in Denver. Look at the numerous dropped passes by TE’s Dallas Clark and Ed Dickson. Rookie Rick Wagner playing right tackle no better than a revolving door would have. The running game never got going either as Ray Rice averaged just 3.0 YPC, and Bernard Pierce, 2.4.
Based on those factors, some will give Joe Flacco a pass for week 1. But did he play like a top end QB in spite those factors? I’ve made mention that the one thing that he needs to improve upon is completion percentage. More importantly, we can take a look at accuracy percentage. ACC % takes into account balls that were on point and flat out dropped, and also discounts throw away passes because sometimes that’s a smart play. The following graph shows Joe Flacco’s ACC % through the years, including Thursday night in Denver.
Joe Flacco’s Completion percentage on Thursday was 54.8. His ACC % was 67.2% (34 completions + 5 dropped passes) / (62 attemps – 3 throw away – 1 hit as thrown) = 67.2%. Right in line with where Joe Flacco was for the last two seasons. Is this the Joe Flacco we’re going to get? To put it in perspective, we want to see this number rise into the 75% range. 67.2% would put Flacco ahead of just two qualifying QBs last year, Josh Freeman and Mark Sanchez. 75% would put Flacco in top 10, while Aaron Rodgers led the league at 80.2%.
Other players need to step their game up, and bring their hands with them from now on. I get that. But Flacco needs to step his up as well. Especially to overcome the drops that will happen.
Here are some other notable numbers to take away from the Denver game, before we turn our focus to Cleveland and the home opener. A fresh start kind of feel as we’ll have the excitement of the home crowd, the team being introduced as World Champions for the first time, unveiling the championship banner, all those good vibes.
The run game never got going, but Ray Rice caught eight balls on ten targets. The expectations of him being more involved in the passing game are holding true.
One game is a small sample size, but Joe Flacco had a 142.4 QB rating when targeting Marlon Brown. The undrafted rookie is the obvious choice to start opposite Torrey Smith with Jacoby Jones sits out 4-6 weeks with a sprained MCL. Brandon Stokley caught just three passes while targeted seven times from the slot. Torrey Smith was targeted five times deeper than 20 yards downfield. Only two of them were deemed catchable, and he caught both for a combined 63 yards.
Joe Flacco was under pressure once every three dropbacks (22 out of 66). Rick Wagner allowed seven pressures and three sacks in just over one half of work. Michael Oher allowed just one pressure, resulting in a hit before he left with a sprained ankle.
Terrell Suggs led the game in run stops with four out of 19 run snaps he was on the field for. A run stop constituting a loss for the offense, prevent allowing 40% of 1st down yards, 60% of 2nd down yards, and preventing a conversion on all 3rd and 4th downs. The league’s best post a 12-15% in run stop percentage for the season; Suggs was 21.1% on Thursday. Haloti Ngata had two run stops and two hurries on Manning. Josh Bynes had three run stops, Daryl Smith just one. Bynes was awful in pass protection as he allowed four catches on all four balls thrown his way. Both Smith and Bynes we’re completely ineffective in pass rushing. They combined for eight blitz attempts with zero pressures. Courtney Upshaw was on pass coverage five times. He must have done okay because on those five plays, Manning was not able to exploit a possible mismatch as he didn’t throw Upshaw’s direction once.
Peyton Manning threw seven touchdowns. Need we say more? Corey Graham allowed three TDs and Jimmy Smith allowed one to Andre Caldwell. Not Thomas, Decker, or Welker. Andre Caldwell. A guy who caught all of one pass in eight games in 2012. Michael Huff had the worst game. Targeted five times, allowed five catches for 181 yards (115 YAC) and three TDs.