No, you’re not reading an outdated article written for last week. I stand by this title heading into week 4, Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco needs to step up.
Flacco didn’t really prove much last Sunday. It’s easy to boast about a 71% completion rate, 3 touchdown passes, 0 interceptions, and a 128.7 QB, but then reality hits— it was against the Browns. Not much to brag about anymore.
Of course this performance by Flacco was a nice comeback from a disastrous week 2 against the Bengals, but I think many of us fans are “blinded by love.” I, for one, have not fallen in love with Flacco yet. There’s still much to prove regarding his mechanics, high pressure situations, ability to read defenses, and throwing accuracy.
A True Test
Heading into Heinz field this Sunday will be the ultimate test for young Flacco. One thing for sure is that Flacco usually stinks when facing the Pittsburgh Steelers. In his rookie season, Flacco failed to lead his team to a single victory against the Steel Curtain— 1 especially important game being the AFC Championship. But after going 0-3, he rebounded in 2009 by beating the Steelers for the very first time in week 12. Flacco threw 23-35 for 289 passing yards and 1 touchdown, 0 interceptions. He did get a break with Troy Polamalu being out from injury. Unfortunately 4 weeks later, Flacco lost that swagger in his 4th career loss to the Steelers.
This year, the Steelers are once again one of the toughest defenses. They have Polamalu back and a run defense ranking 3rd in the league. If Ray Rice can’t play this Sunday, Flacco is going to have a long day at work. But with Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger out from suspension, the Ravens defense has the edge to stop the Steelers offensively. So this will be a true test to see how well Flacco does with the game on his shoulders against a premier defense.
What I’d Like to See
After the loss to the Bengals, I was dissatisfied with Flacco and how he handled the post-game conference. I heard too much of “we didn’t do this” and “we didn’t do that.” I would have loved to hear Flacco step up as a leader and take the blame— after all, it was mostly his fault. If he said something along the lines of “I played terrible, but I promise to work harder and get better…,” that would have showed some accountability.
Maybe he could learn a line or two from former Florida Gators QB Tim Tebow, who gave this speech after a tough loss:
Flacco needs to be the Ray Lewis of the offense. He needs to lead his squad and fire up the team. And I want to see way more passion and intensity in his play. Show some accountability and leadership, Mr. Flacco. But most importantly, just have some fun out there.