Ravens QB Joe Flacco was nearly perfect on third down vs. Panthers

September 29, 2014|By Jon Meoli | The Baltimore Sun

Ravens coach John Harbaugh on Monday praised Joe Flacco’s decision-making, especially his ability to deliver the ball quickly when under pressure on third down, as one of the things that contributed to one of the quarterback’s better games in recent memory.

Flacco threw for 327 yards and three touchdowns with a quarterback rating of 137.4 in the Ravens' 38-10 win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, with a good chunk of that production coming on third down.

“He made plays, and especially third down-and-long plays when he had pressure coming at him,” Harbaugh said. “He had to get the ball off, he took a couple hits, and he drilled the ball in there to guys, and guys made catches and got the ball across the first-down line knowing where the line was at. That’s the kind of execution that you’re really proud of, and that happened for us on offense.”

On the first third-down attempt the Ravens faced, Flacco threw a ball well over the head of wide receiver Steve Smith. He completed his next seven pass attempts on third down for a total of 189 yards and two touchdowns.

His third-down success started with the back-foot, tip drill touchdown off the fingers of tight end Owen Daniels and into the arms of a sprinting Steve Smith, who scored a 61-yard touchdown against his former team. Flacco hit Daniels for 20 yards on third-and-10 during the next series, and two plays later, Justin Forsett scored to put the Ravens ahead for good.

Flacco extended the Ravens' next drive with third-down completions to Marlon Brown, who had two third-down catches on the day, and Torrey Smith, before hitting Steve Smith for his second score of the game.

In the beginning of the second half, Flacco hit Daniels on third down to extend the drive, and then hit Torrey Smith on third down four plays later for his third touchdown of the game.

Flacco is 24 of 40 (60 percent) for 390 yards and three touchdowns, 20 first downs and one interception on third down, and has also run for three first downs on third-and-shorts.

jmeoli@baltsun.com

twitter.com/jonmeoli

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