FACT: The Ravens will play their first game this Monday night against the Browns without Joe Flacco as the starting quarterback for the first time since before Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492.
Ok, maybe I embellish a tad, but it sure feels like it.
Since Flacco was drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft in April 2008, he’s played in 137 consecutive games, including the playoffs. In that same time span, the Browns have started 14 different quarterbacks, including two first rounders. The Browns drafted 74 year-old Brandon Weeden in 2012 and Johnny Manziel in 2014. The Browns also took Brady Quinn in the first round in 2007, the year before Flacco was drafted.
The chart below documents the eight years of sadness Browns fans have had to endure since 2008. It’s pretty sad when the highest-rated quarterback is a 36 year old journeyman who has played for seven different teams. These 14 quarterbacks have combined for exactly zero playoff appearances.
Meanwhile the Ravens have had Joe Flacco and his 10 playoff wins and Super Bowl championship.
But sadly, that goes away for the rest of the year.
The Ravens will now turn to Matt Schaub to take on the Browns this Monday night. The last time the Ravens beat the Browns with someone else starting at quarterback was December 17, 2006. Yup. Nine years ago. The Browns swept the Ravens during the 2007 season. Unfortunately that could happen again this year. 2007 was a pretty rough year for the Ravens.
This year may be worse.
Anyway, back to the happier times of 2006.
The Ravens defeated the Browns 27-17 at M&T Bank Stadium to clinch a playoff spot and improve to 11-3 on the season. The late Steve McNair started the game for the Ravens but was injured early on. Kyle Boller was forced into action for the Ravens and had a pretty decent afternoon finishing 13-21 for 238 yards and 2 touchdowns. His rating was a lovely 112.8. Hey, that’s higher than any Browns player in the chart above.
Jamal Lewis did Jamal Lewis things all afternoon, leading the Ravens offense with 109 rushing yards on 22 carries. Demetrius Williams (Remember him? It’s ok if you don’t. Not many people do.) hauled in a 77 yard touchdown reception in the 3rd quarter.
In an ironic twist of fate, the Ravens defeated the Browns 15-14 earlier in the year as Matt Stover connected on a 52 yard field goal with 20 seconds remaining in the game. The Ravens’ three wins this season have all come on a last-second made field goal by Justin Tucker.
Hey, I’d be fine with a 15-14 victory on a last-second field goal by Tucker on Monday night. I’m guessing you would, too.
We are getting a small taste of what it’s like to be a Browns fan this year.
Fortunately for us, it won’t last forever.