Ravens Notebook: Flacco throws career-high three interceptions

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INDIANAPOLIS
— Baltimore Ravens rookie quarterback Joe Flacco had his worst game yet as the first-round draft pick threw a career-high three interceptions and fumbled twice in a 31-3 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

His second pass of the first quarter was intercepted by safety Melvin Bullitt on a pass intended for wide receiver Mark Clayton. Then, Flacco fumbled on a botched handoff to running back Ray Rice that was recovered.

In the second quarter, Flacco was intercepted by Antoine Bethea while trying to find Clayton again as he didn’t look off the safety.

"It’s a combination of bad throws and bad decisions," Flacco said. "I threw two of them high and missed the guys, for some reason. I’ve just got to make better decisions."

Flacco completed 28 of 38 passes for a career-high 241 yards, but was sacked four times and had a 57.0 quarterback rating.

"Obviously, Joe will be harder on himself than anybody else," wide receiver Derrick Mason said. "As players, we have to be behind him and support him through the good and the bad. He understands what he has to do. I don’t want this situation to be a hindrance."

STONEWALLED: The Ravens’ fourth-ranked running game grinded to a halt against what was supposed to be a pushover opponent.

The Colts entered the game with the league’s last-ranked run defense, allowing 188 yards per game. On Sunday, they shut down running backs Willis McGahee, Ray Rice and Le’Ron McClain as

Baltimore
gained a season-low 51 rushing yards on 19 carries.

"It wasn’t what they were doing, it was what we were doing," said McClain, the Ravens’ leading rusher who was held to a season-low minus-two rushing yards on two carries. "Willis was running hard, but those turnovers killed us. We just weren’t executing.


 

“We were one block away on some runs and could have broken a long run out of the gate, but we were just one block away and didn’t break it."

McClain lost a fumble in the first half when defensive end Raheem Brock punched the ball out of his hand.

"I was just handling the ball when he hit it right on the ball," McClain said. "That can’t happen."

Despite a significant size advantage, the Ravens struggled against the Colts’ aggressive, speedy front seven. They ran line stunts effectively as 240-pound defensive end Robert Mathis burst past right offensive tackle Willie Anderson for three sacks and four tackles for losses with one forced fumble and fumble recovery.

"It really doesn’t matter about their size, they played a good game," left offensive tackle Jared Gaither said. "We’ve got to come out stronger next week. It’s a learning experience. You can always learn something from every person and more about your own game."

Rice rushed for 23 yards on six carries and McGahee was held to 18 yards on eight carries as the Colts swarmed them at the line of scrimmage.

"I think they did a great job in getting to the ball," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "They play fast, they get off blocks and they tackle well. You play a team like that, you’ve got to handle movement. You’ve got to sustain blocks and you’ve got to run through tackles. Those are things we didn’t do especially well this game."

STICKING TOGETHER: Harbaugh was adamant about not criticizing his players as he took several questions from reporters about cornerback Chris McAlister, who allowed two touchdown passes.

"It wasn’t all Chris’ fault," Harbaugh said. "We’re not about pointing the finger. If anybody thinks I’m going to stand up here and point the finger at one guy or another guy and say, ‘This guy played well and this guy didn’t play well,’ then you can pack up your tape recorders right now.
 
"That’s not what we’re about. We’re a football team and we’ve got to get better as a football team."

QUICK HITS: The Ravens deactivated quarterback Troy Smith, cornerbacks Samari Rolle (neck surgery) and Fabian Washington (dislocated right shoulder), offensive tackles David Hale and Adam Terry (sprained right knee, lateral meniscus), wide receiver Marcus Smith and defensive tackle Lamar Divens (illness). Divens didn’t make the trip. … Terry didn’t elaborate much on whether he would be back in the lineup against the Miami Dolphins. "We’ll see how it goes next week," he said. … Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison’s two touchdown catches gives him 126 for his career, moving past Walter Payton and into 10th on the NFL’s all-time list. … The Colts were playing without Pro Bowl safety Bob Sanders as well as cornerback Kelvin Hayden, linebacker Buster Davis, offensive guard Daniel Federkeil, wide receiver Roy Hall, defensive tackle Daniel Muir, defensive end Marcus Howard and defensive back Nick Graham.

Aaron Wilson covers the
Baltimore Ravens for the
Carroll
County Times and the

Annapolis
Capital.

This entry was posted in The Beat with Aaron Wilson by Aaron Wilson. Bookmark the permalink.

About Aaron Wilson

Aaron Wilson
Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post as well as the Baltimore Ravens for The Carroll County Times and Ravens24x7.com. He has previously covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans and has covered the NFL since 1997.  He has won several regional writing awards, including, most recently, Best...more

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