Five Things We Learned from the Ravens' 16-13 win over the San Diego Chargers
Baltimore Sun reporter/blogger Matt Vensel breaks down the Ravens' overtime win at Qualcomm Stadium.
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4( US Presswire / November 25, 2012 )
Joe Flacco can take this show on the road if he gets a little help from his friends.
Once again, the quarterback they sometimes still call "Joe Cool" was ice cold away from M&T Bank Stadium. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who hadn't thrown for 200 yards in a road game in more than two months, completed just eight of his 16 attempts in the first half for 59 yards. The Ravens didn't score their first points of the game until a Justin Tucker field goal in the third quarter. But when the Ravens needed a late rally to overcome a 13-3 fourth-quarter deficit and avoid another week of questions about the struggles of the offense on the road, Flacco delivered like he was throwing passes back in Baltimore.
Flacco tossed a touchdown pass to tight end Dennis Pitta with 4:19 left in the game and led the Ravens on a game-tying drive at the end of regulation, though running back Ray Rice deserves his share of the credit for his crazy fourth-down conversion. Flacco continued to find his receivers in overtime and eventually moved the Ravens into position to win the game with a 31-yard pass to wide receiver Torrey Smith on third-and-long. When Tucker's game-winning field goal split the uprights, Flacco had attempted 51 passes, completing 30 of them for 355 yards and one touchdown with zero turnovers. The Ravens converted on 12 of 24 third-down plays, most of them coming via the rocket right arm of Flacco.
But one quality quarter and one strong overtime period probably won't be enough to gloss over another afternoon in which Flacco and the Ravens offense failed to produce away from their home stadium. Flacco is one of the NFL's most effective quarterbacks in his home stadium, but for some inexplicable reason, he hasn't been able to get it to translate on the road, which is surprising considering he won four playoff games on the road in his first three seasons in the league. We did see, though, in Sunday's 16-13 win over the San Diego Chargers that if Flacco gets a little help, he is capable of breaking out on the road. His offensive line let him get sacked five times, but they performed better in the second half and overtime, giving him time to scan the field on most plays. His wide receivers -- particularly Smith, who has been less of a factor in road games -- made plays for him. And Rice and the running game took some of the pressure off him. Flacco is maddeningly inconsistent, which is why he doesn't get as much credit as he should, but he has led the Ravens to two comeback road wins in November -- proof that this offense is capable of moving the ball and scoring points when it is needed. It just takes a collective effort.