Monday, September 29, 2008

Ravens @ Steelers - Flacco Do or Die

It's only the beginning of an incredibly young QB career for the Ravens rookie QB. However, this evening's Monday Night Football showdown will be the foreshadowing of Joe Flacco's career with the Ravens, and quite possibly as an NFL quarterback.

Up to this point, Joe Flacco has been tossed into the quarterback position sooner than his coaches would have liked. He has not been incredibly spectacular with 28 completions with 48 attempts (58.3%) for 258 yards and 2 interceptions. Don't be deceived by the INTs though. One was a ball tipped by his wide receiver, and the other was a well-defensed trick play. On a quick side note, he was an idiot for even throwing the flea-flicker bomb. It was a poorly drawn up trick play with only one option (that was triple covered) that didn't work. He has been managing the game, getting first downs, and minimizing turnovers. This is a big reason why the Ravens are currently 2-0 going into tonight's game. The other reason is because they played teams that are currently a combined 1-7 (Cleveland and Cincinnati).

Now to the Rite of Passage part:

The Ravens have only won at Pittsburgh twice since they won the Super Bowl in 2000. One of those wins was in the 2000-2001 season. Randall Cunningham (remember him?) squeeked by with a 13-10 victory, 14/22 passing for 158 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT. Not exactly a great game. Cunningham was the backup for the great Elvis Grbac. It was a semi-successful season for the Ravens though. They entered the play-offs with a wild card bid, beat Miami that first weekend, just to lose at Pittsburgh in the divisional round. The second victory came in the 2005-2006 season. This was during Steve McNair's first year with the team, where the Ravens managed a 13-3 season. McNair threw 2 INTs, but that was the only low point. The Ravens blew the Steelers away 31-7 to help them earn a bye for the first week of the play-offs. McNair couldn't repeat the performance though. The next year, Pittsburgh returned the whooping with a 38-7 victory. McNair's 63 yards on 13/22 attempts and an INT led a floundering offense that couldn't get anything going.

Ravens quarterbacks have been known to have a hard time in Pittsburgh, and I don't see this time being any different. I will be closely watching Flacco's play tonight. If he plays well enough to win the game, it will not only be a rare feat, but it will hopefully give everyone an idea as to where this kid is going as an NFL quarterback. If he falls apart, then we can all chalk this up as another blown Ravens 1st round pick.

Its an early test, but if Flacco wants to be the Ravens' starting quarterback, he's going to have to get used to playing in Pittsburgh and he's going to have to perform. You can't transfer from Pittsburgh every year.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Chip, I have to disagree slightly. I agree that if Flacco wins tonight it will be a huge victory, confidence booster and sign of possible things to come. But a loss doesn't mean anything. You yourself said you expect him to lose or not play well. And as a rookie, it is tough to expect him to beat Pittsburgh and play well. I just think that if he loses to Pitt at Pitt you can't declare it a blown 1st rd pick. That's just crazy talk.

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