The quarterback produced his best game of the season throwing for 381 yards and 4 touchdowns. Keep in mind this is the same offense that has had trouble scoring one touchdown in a game. Flacco shredded the Dolphins defense and made them look like a high-school team. He had all day in the pocket and owned the middle of the field. This was against a Dolphins who had a top 10 defense. Other than a poor interception thrown by Flacco, their defense had no answer.
There seemed to be no sign of a conservative offense on Sunday. Offense coordinator Marty Morhinweg let Flacco fire on all cylinders. The Ravens came out throwing on the first drive and it worked with flying colors. The drive ended with a touchdown throw to running back Terrance West. Unlike past games, the touchdowns did not stop after the first drive. Flacco went on to throw for three touchdowns in the first half alone.
As a result, the Ravens played their most complete game of the year. They were able to finish and put the game away early. In addition, it took less stress off the defense, who had a fabulous performance.
Dec 4, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) on the sidelines during the fourth quarter of the game against the Miami Dolphins at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Flacco’s performance was reminiscent of the Raven’s 2012 playoff run. During that span, Flacco threw for 12 touchdowns to 0 interceptions. He also outplayed Peyton Manning and Tom Brady on the road. The front office awarded him with a major contract and he has struggled since, but Sunday was different. Flacco turned back the clock and showed that he can play up the level that he has shown in recent years.
Of course the quarterback did not do this on his own.
Much like in 2012, his success came from play of his receivers. Most noteworthy, Dennis Pitta was heavily involved in the passing game. The two rekindled an old relationship and connected for 2 touchdowns in the first half of Sunday’s game. Before suffering major hip injuries, Pitta was Flacco’s favorite target and was a key to the quarterback’s success in 2012. It looks as if the two have gained back their chemistry. Maybe it just took a nice dinner and a movie, but I will take it either way. The Ravens have struggled at the tight end position all season and Pitta is key moving forward.
Dec 4, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) throws as Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey (51) applies pressure during the first quarter at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
It was a great performance, but it is nothing to obsess over. The Ravens face their toughest game of the season when they travel to New England for Monday Night Football. In recent years, the Ravens and Patriots have met numerous times in the regular season and playoffs. The game will definitely have a playoff atmosphere.
Luckily for Raven’s fans, Joe Flacco and company have been the thorn to the Patriot’s side. In the 3 head-to-head match-ups in the playoffs, Flacco has outperformed Tom Brady. The Ravens QB has 5 touchdowns to 2 Interceptions and a 89.5 quarterback rating. Brady has had a surprising 3 touchdowns to 7 interceptions and a 56.8 quarterback rating. Also, all 3 playoff meetings have been played in New England. It is almost better that this game is on the road. Flacco always seems to play much better on the road, especially against the Patriots.
If January Joe can continue to play this way, this is a dangerous team. He is catching fire at the right time and the Raven’s playoff hopes are looking bright. There no doubt that he is the key to the team’s success moving forward.