Both coach John Harbaugh and players like center Matt Birk and left tackle Bryant McKinnie agreed that Joe Flacco has been on the receiving end of too many hits lately.
The only one who disagrees is the Ravens quarterback himself.
Asked if he concurred with Harbaugh’s assessment on Monday, Flacco replied, “No, I’m still a young guy, and that’s part of playing quarterback, getting hit every now and then. Hey, if you’ve got to deal with it every now and then, that’s what you have to deal with. I think we played great. Our offensive line is battling. They’re in there fighting their asses off each week, and they’re really starting to come together.”
Flacco continues to extend his reign as the franchise’s all-time leading passer despite playing under immense pressure. Since his rookie season in 2008 when he became the starter, Flacco has been sacked 118 times, which ranks as the fifth-most in the NFL behind the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger (146), the Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers (127), the Kansas City Chiefs/New England Patriots’ Matt Cassel (125) and the Oakland Raiders’ Jason Campbell (119).
Flacco has been sacked 10 times thus far, which ranks among the bottom half of the NFL. But he has also been hit 28 other times, according to game summaries produced by the league.
Flacco was sacked just twice on Sunday by a Houston Texans defense that played without two-time Pro Bowl pass rusher Mario Williams. But he absorbed seven hits – which tied a season high set initially against the St. Louis Rams on Sept. 25 – and did appear to hobble ever so slightly during that opening series.
But Flacco said his focus is on his receivers, not on the pass rush.
“If you’ve played quarterback in the NFL, you’ve been doing it for a long time now, and you wouldn’t be here if you were caught staring at the rush not keeping your eyes downfield,” he said. “You’re just kind of out there playing football. When you’re on the ground, you just find yourself getting up. You don’t really know exactly how it happened, but it happened. As long as you got the ball off and you’ve done all those things, you feel good about it.”