The Baltimore Ravens won again last night, picking at the decaying remains of another team’s long gone hopes. The beat-up Houston Texans led by backup statue Tom Savage are exactly the kind of team the Ravens have been preying on all season, and they’re probably going to the playoffs because the AFC is a wasteland.
Unlike Savage, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco did exactly what you want a backup to do: He didn’t turn over the ball or make any egregious mistakes that would cost his team the chance to win. Flacco completed 20 of 32 passes for 141 yards, a stunning 4.41 yards per attempt, which isn’t even a season low.
After the game, Flacco pleaded with his team to “let it loose” offensively. That sounds great in theory, but it’s a stretch with this cast of characters. Mike Wallace is their No. 1 receiver, the offensive line is terrible, and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg is synonymous with the flavorless offensive sustenance the NFL is addicted to.
Flacco is the perfect quarterback for this brand of vanilla soylent. His passer rating on throws more than 10 yards down the field has been steadily declining since 2014, his best season, and now sits at 49.7.
The Ravens are so committed to Flacco that they refused to bring in any backup quarterback remotely capable of competing with him, even when Flacco’s back injury kept him out for the entire preseason.
The Ravens are so committed to Flacco, they’re allowing him to take up $24.5 million in cap space, roughly 15 percent of their total cap. His contract virtually assures his place with the Ravens through the year 2020.
Why? All because he was good for four straight playoff games. That’s it. But what a run it was. Flacco beat the Colts, Broncos, and Patriots before knocking off the 49ers to the win the Super Bowl in 2013. (All those teams, except the Patriots are trash now too, but that’s another story for another time). He threw 11 touchdowns and no interceptions and had a QB rating of 117.2.
So good, in fact, it landed him a $120 million contract extension that spring. And despite the fact that he never came close to repeating that performance, Flacco landed another three-year extension in 2016 worth $66.4 million with $44 million guaranteed.
Kids, you can learn a lot from Joe Flacco. You don’t have to be good all the time, only when people are watching.