The Baltimore Ravens needed Sunday’s victory over the Oakland Raiders, keeping them in contention in the AFC North with a key stretch ahead. But perhaps no individual Ravens player needed it more than QB Joe Flacco, who was coming off two of the worst games of his career in back-to-back games.
Following his 28-yard meltdown in London against the Jacksonville Jaguars and the two-turnover, four-sack loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Flacco responded in a big way at Oakland. He delivered some big throws downfield, held tough throughout the game and helped shepherd a victory amid tough circumstances. The Ravens were battered by injuries again in the game.
And it’s Flacco’s mental and physical toughness that might carry as much value as any statistics do to the Ravens, who are not planning on moving on from him anytime soon.
Granted, they might not have a choice in the matter — in perhaps the least revelatory statement of all time, Flacco has a contract that the team can’t really get out from under. But that doesn’t mean they’re just living with him as best they can. There’s still a belief that in better circumstances, Flacco still can thrive.
“Ozzie [Newsome] and John [Harbaugh] still believe,” a team source said. “They still think he can deliver big wins. That’s the truth.”
It might be hard for some Ravens fans to swallow, even as the team sits at 3-2 and very much in the thick of the AFC North race despite all outward appearances. But even with high mileage, a painful back injury he’s playing through, declining production and that unwieldy deal, Flacco still carries value to the team.
Not only do they believe he’s the right guy to carry them through this tough stretch with key offensive (and defensive) players going down with injuries left and right, but the Ravens also quietly believe that there is ample opportunity for another big run — whether it’s a pleasantly unexpected one this season or a reloading for 2018 with key players returning.
“This has been the plan all along, and no one is changing that now,” the source continued. “They’re staying the course with Joe, trust me on that.”