Much of Joe Flacco’s success or failure can be attributed to the protection he receives up front. In Sunday’s 33-14 beating of the New York Giants, the Baltimore Ravens offensive line didn’t allow Flacco to be sacked once.
“They played great today,” Flacco told the media after the game. “NFL games are won and lost at the offensive and defensive line positions. When you can have both sides of the ball play as dominant as they did today up front, then you usually give yourself a very good chance of winning.”
And that’s exactly what happened for Baltimore this week.
On the ground, the Ravens rushed for 224 yards which allowed them to command the time of possession (39:21 to 20:39). With the help of a 78 yard run, Bernard Pierce rushed for a team leading 123 yards over 14 carries, while Ray Rice racked up 107 yards over 24 attempts.
Rice touched the ball more times on Sunday than he had in the previous two weeks combined. He finished just one carry shy of his season high (25 against the Browns on November 4).
The increased protection up front allowed Joe Flacco to throw for 309 yards and two touchdowns. Flacco was 25-36 and was able to thread the needle through the middle of the field — an area that seemed to have been forgotten by the Ravens during the Cam Cameron era.
Entering week 16, Baltimore appeared to be trending in the wrong direction after losing three straight games. Flacco was coming off one of the worst outings of his career and the Ravens looked as though they were preparing for a one-and-done trip to the postseason. Suddenly, there’s a bit more optimism in Baltimore. However the next few weeks pan out, much of the success of the offense will be dependent on the o-line.