Flacco had 2nd and 3rd quarters to forget

Written by on October 3, 2011 in Ravens, Sports - No comments

Joe Flacco hadn’t seen too many days like this.

Through the second and third quarters in Baltimore’s 34-17 win over the Jets, Flacco did not complete a pass. Including an incompletion in the fourth quarter, he threw 12 consecutive passes that his team did not catch. One of those passes was an interception to Jets linebacker David Harris that went for a touchdown.

Flacco likely would have been in a worse mood had the Jets won instead. But he seemed ready to brush off those two quarters and move on.

“We weren’t operating smoothly,” Flacco said. “There were a couple of times where guys were on different pages than others. Something wasn’t clicking.”

When asked, Flacco couldn’t recall a similar situation like this. He said maybe in high school he lasted in a drought like this. Certainly not in college or in his NFL career thus far.

“It was definitely crazy,” Flacco said. “You don’t really think about it. But you’re like, ‘Man, when was the last time I completed a pass?’”

Flacco (10-31, 163 yards, 1 interception) ended his drought with 11:50 left in the fourth quarter. He completed an 11-yard pass to rookie receiver LaQuan Williams.

“That was a great throw and a great catch against really good corners,” coach John Harbaugh said. “Credit our offense for finding a way to win a game. We had some fireworks early and I thought they did a good job early. But that’s a really good defense over there.”

Gorrer steps up

During the game, safety Tom Zbikowski sustained a concussion which left the Ravens with only two safeties. Zbikowski, Bernard Pollard and Ed Reed all played in nickel packages to start the game.

But when Zbikowski exited the game, cornerback Danny Gorrer stepped in to play one of the wide corner spots while starter Lardarius Webb moved inside to play nickel.

“We asked Danny to play great technique,” Harbaugh said. “That’s what Danny does. He’s become a fundamentally excellent corner over the last year, and he can run, and he has good ball skills. He’s going to be a really good corner. I think this was kind of his opening salvo of his career.”

Knocking Sanchez down

Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said the gameplan all along was to make Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez beat them. The Ravens held the Jets to 38 rushing yards and pressured Sanchez all night. Sanchez finished the game 11-35 for 119 yards and 1 interception.

“For us to get to him early and often, I think he’s playing a little timid in the offense, trying to get rid of the ball faster than he should,” Ngata said. “You saw a lot of plays where the balls were hitting the ground because he was trying to get rid of the ball too fast.”

The Ravens’ defensive front dominated the line of scrimmage, and also forced quite a few false starts. One Ravens player even called the Jets’ offensive line “soft.”

Linebacker Terrell Suggs said quarterbacks now know they have to get the ball out fast unless they want to end up on the turf.

“Quick game. Get the ball out or get hit,” Suggs said. “You can clearly see that’s been the game plan. If you hold the ball you’re going to get hit.”

Quick slants

Linebacker Ray Lewis on defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano: “He’s not afraid of anything. We learned some personal stuff about him a long time ago that makes us realize that he’ll never be afraid to doing anything like that.”

Right guard Marshal Yanda said offensive coordinator Cam Cameron called the same running time about eight or nine times in a row when the Ravens ran it 11 straight times in the third quarter (and first play of the fourth quarter).

“Our defense was playing lights out,” Yanda said. “We wanted to help out. It felt like we weren’t helping out. I felt we needed to get it going. We pushed hard and kept working and we started getting some yards. Cam started going with that same play. … I don’t want to say we broke their will because that’s a damn good defense and we really only got after them for 10 plays. But that took the wind out of them.”

Linebacker Sergio Kindle was active for the first time in his NFL career. He missed his rookie season after fracturing his skull in a fall away from the football field. He was inactive for the first three games this season.

“It’s just a blessing to be active, to finally get some wear and tear on my cleats besides the practice facility,” Kindle said. “I got my feet wet, that’s what matters. I waited a long time for this. I would say it was emotional.”

Baltimore’s seven inactive players were all injured. They were: Wide receiver Lee Evans (ankle), cornerback Jimmy Smith (ankle), left guard Ben Grubbs (toe), cornerback Chris Carr (hamstring), linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (hamstring), safety Haruki Nakamura (knee) and wide receiver/kick returner David Reed (shoulder).

Harbaugh issued three game balls after Sunday’s game. One was to Pagano’s father, one went to former Ravens linebacker O.J. Birgance, who is battling ALS, and the other Pat Modell, the wife of Art Modell. Pat Modell is seriously ill.

By Jason Butt

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