However, there was another first-quarter play that better defined Flacco’s bounce-back game.
Flacco fell to the ground after running into left guard James Hurst. The 6-foot-6, 245-pound quarterback then picked himself off the grass, dodged a couple of potential tacklers and completed a pass to Jeremy Maclin.
The play perfectly underscored Flacco’s reaction to all of the criticism he faced over the past two weeks. His offensive line also seemed to respond to his determination. His blockers had their best game of the year by not allowing a sack and opened wide lanes for the running backs.
Flacco brushed off the recent bad press in his post-game comments. However, there was a sense of redemption in his voice.
“It’s part of being an NFL quarterback, is dealing with tough times,” Flacco said. “When you don’t play well, you own it and you go on to the next one. I have confidence in who I am as a player and a person. I have confidence in our football team. I’m never going to waver. I may not play well one week, but it’s not going to change who I am and who I believe I am.”
Flacco finished with modest numbers, completing 19 of 26 passes for 222 yards. He finished with a QB rating of 98.6. He did not throw an interception for the first time in 10 straight games.
The Ravens did catch a break when Derek Carr was ruled out with a back injury. However, no team in the NFL has dealt with more injuries than the Ravens, who have a league-high 16 players on the IR.
Still it was a potentially season-saving win. Falling to 2-3 would have been a black hole for this team.
Flacco said earlier in the week that the offense lacked confidence. His 52-yard strike to Wallace on the first play from scrimmage was the boost they needed and set the tone for the rest of the game.
Flacco was also helped by his running attack. Buck Allen and Alex Collins combined for 128 yards, and their fresh legs were key to closing out the game in the fourth quarter. With Pittsburgh’s stunning 30-9 loss to Jacksonville, the Ravens are tied for first in the AFC North.
The Ravens host the Bears on Sunday, while Pittsburgh has to travel to Kansas City, which is the only team that appears to be separating itself from the rest of the AFC.
While coach John Harbaugh was clearly elated with the win, he knows his team has a lot of work to do. The defense is still allowing big runs without Brandon Williams in the lineup and the secondary allowed Michael Crabtree to catch a 41-yard touchdown pass from EJ Manuel.
For now, though, the Ravens put some their some of their other struggles behind them. Their quarterback has regained some of his confidence. A win over the Bears would keep the new-found momentum rolling.
“We just have to figure out how to play the next game,” Harbaugh said. “It’s a one week league. If this doesn’t show this, and when you look around the NFL. Any fan in the NFL should know that by now. It’s an every week league. It can change. Every, every, every week is a different week, and you just got to come out and find a way to play your best football and try to win your next game. That’s really what it is. Think in terms like that is valuable I think.”