Offense on good run in protecting Flacco

After the Ravens’ eighth contest of the season – a 23-20 win against the Pittsburgh SteelersJoe Flacco was tied for eighth in the NFL in sacks, getting taken down 19 times.

Since then, the quarterback has dropped into a tie for 16th, getting sacked just two times in his last three games. In the Ravens’ 16-6 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Thanksgiving night, Flacco finished the contest without getting sacked for the first time since Sept. 26, 2010 against the Cleveland Browns.

Much of the credit should go to the offensive line, which has appeared to solidify with the return of left guard Ben Grubbs (strained ligaments in toe on right foot) for the game against the Steelers. While offensive coordinator Cam Cameron didn’t disagree with that theory, he also offered another explanation.

“Getting Ben back is nice,” Cameron said during his weekly briefing Thursday. “But it’s [about] a group of guys – receivers getting separation, good decision-making by Joe. I think Joe has only had a handful of progression issues the last two weeks. It really all works together. The ball is coming out fast, good protection, guys helping each other. Now, people haven’t chosen to pressure us as much lately. I am sure that will work its way back – it kind of works in cycles throughout the year. We need to stay on top of our game, just be sharp. It’s really all 11 guys that make that happen. People tend to point blame at the offensive line when things aren’t going well, but our guys up front are doing an outstanding job. You give those guys credit, but we’re going to have to continue to get better.”

Right guard Marshal Yanda also credited Flacco with releasing the ball quicker and sometimes getting rid of the ball to avoid sacks.

“I think guys are just playing better,” Yanda said. “Joe’s been doing better, too. There’s been some times when he’s made hellacious plays not to take sacks. The line, yeah, we’ve been playing better and getting into that season-ending grind and making an emphasis and making sure it’s important that guys work during the week.”

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