Kyle Boller goes down for the season. Troy Smith comes down with a virus. The Ravens have no choice but to start Joe Flacco.
I wrote an article a couple of weeks ago about starting rookie quarterbacks and how risky it can be.
Well, Joe Flacco may just make me eat those words.
Flacco, the 6'6" 230 pound rookie, seemed comfortable right from the opening play. He finished the game 15/29 for 129 yards passing, along with four rushes for 38 yards and his first rushing touchdown.
No, he didn't put up huge numbers, except for one, zero INTs. This was due mostly to the play selection the coaches sent in. It was obvious they didn't want him to do too much and get rattled.
Behind an extremely young offensive line that gave Flacco great protection, he did exactly what John Harbaugh asked of him and managed the game extremely well. He seemingly grew more confident with every snap of the ball.
The Ravens recorded 21 first downs, 12 rushing, eight passing, and one on a penalty. Flacco helped convert 52% of third down attempts as the Ravens had the ball for over 36 minutes of the game.
When a play was busted, he made adjustments. Flacco knew when to throw the ball away, instead of forcing something. He didn't panic when pressured and make stupid decisions.
These are things Kyle Boller has yet to learn after five years in the league.
With 27 seconds left in the third quarter, there was a busted play. Derrick Mason was supposed to get the ball, but Flacco never called for motion before the snap. Flacco rolls out to the right and then takes off running for a 38 yard touchdown.
This surprised the announcers as well as the viewers. I'm not sure anyone thought he was that mobile.
Flacco spread the ball around using seven different receivers. The most frequent was Mason who had four catches for 44 yards.
Of course this is only the first game of the season, so I can't say that he's going to turn the team around. However, this could be the beginning of good things in Baltimore.
Hopefully he will get the start again next week. I'd like to see Harbaugh and Cam Cameron open up the playbook a little more and see what the kid can really do.
Photo above courtesy of baltimoreravens.com