Ravens kept Joe Flacco clean in Pittsburgh

The Baltimore Sun

Joe Flacco had been under siege like Steven Seagal during the first six games of the season. The Ravens quarterback had been sacked 19 times entering Week 7 and had taken a beating in the previous two games.

Flacco’s offensive line battled back Sunday with maybe its best effort of the season in pass protection.

Flacco was sacked just once in Pittsburgh, though the Steelers did rank last in the AFC in sacks entering the game. Flacco was hurried on just six plays, according to Pro Football Focus, and with seven total pressures allowed, the Ravens were PFF’s most efficient offensive line in pass protection in Week 7.

Left tackle Eugene Monroe, whom the team acquired three weeks ago, did not allow a single quarterback pressure after allowing a sack and two hurries in his Ravens debut.

“They did play better in terms of protection,” offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell said. “The pocket was clean. They did a nice job working together. Obviously, Pittsburgh is not a very easy team to prepare for. They give you a lot of different looks, different fronts [so there are] different adjustments you have to make in the passing game with protections.”

Finally having room to operate, Flacco completed 24 of 34 attempts for 215 yards and a touchdown. His 6.3 yards per attempt were below average, but his 70.6 completion percentage was his highest of the season. Nine different Ravens players caught passes in the 19-16 loss.

Despite the fact that the Steelers aren’t exactly getting after quarterbacks like they did during their Blitzburgh days, it was definitely a big step in the right direction for the Ravens’ oft-criticized offensive line. But more difficult matchups loom in the season’s second half, including the Cleveland Browns after the bye week.

“Is it where we want to be? Absolutely not,” Caldwell said of the pass protection. “Not even close.”

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