BALTIMORE - Three times this season, Joe Flacco has thrown for 300 yards or more, and the Baltimore Ravens have lost each time.
On Sunday, Flacco threw for 342 yards, two-thirds of them in the second half in the Ravens' 19-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
"That's what happens when you're losing a football game," Flacco said. "I try to tell you guys it's not about stats and throwing for a lot of yards and throwing for touchdowns. Usually when you're behind, you have to throw the ball a little bit and something can happen like that."
Before this season, Flacco had thrown for 300 yards or more 13 times in the regular season, and Baltimore was 12-1 in those games. He did it twice in playoff games, in the AFC Championship loss at New England two years ago, and in last season's thrilling double overtime win at Denver.
For some reason, this year has been different.
Obviously, the running game hasn't been as strong, and that's putting undue pressure on Flacco.
"If we were running the ball better, we wouldn't be talking about it," Flacco said.
Flacco entered the game with the 11th most passing yards of any quarterback, just ahead of Aaron Rodgers, who threw for 315 yards.
His quarterback rating was 112.6, far above his season average of 70.1. He threw for two touchdowns. In the first five games, he passed for five. Entering the game, Flacco was tied for fourth in the NFL with eight interceptions. He had none on Sunday. He did suffer five sacks, bringing his season total to 19.
"The plays were there, a blown block here and there," Tandon Doss said. "Some of the D-lineman were back there all day."
Flacco has never been sacked more than 40 times in a season. With slightly more than three per game, he could be sacked 50 times this year.
"We had a couple miscues today, but for the most part, the pass protection was pretty good," Flacco said.
For a quarterback who has the third longest consecutive starts among all at his position, he's shown unusual durability. Counting the postseason, Sunday was his 99th consecutive start behind only the New York Giants' Eli Manning (141) and San Diego's Philip Rivers (118).
Next week at Pittsburgh, Flacco, who has never been removed from a game because of injury or poor performance is scheduled to start his 100th straight game, the eighth active NFL player to do so.He'll need more involvement from Torrey Smith, held to a season low one catch for 12 yards.
Doss caught Flacco's longest pass of the day, a 63-yarder, his second longest of the season.
"We didn't play well by any means. We left a bunch of plays out on the field," Doss said. "We have to start taking advantage of opportunities."
The Ravens did take advantage of some late chances. They were down 16-3 after three and did make the game close, at least cosmetically. In the final quarter, Flacco was sharp, completing seven of eight for 141 yards and touchdowns to Jacoby Jones and Dallas Clark.
Flacco's quarterback rating was easily the highest it's been all season and is back in the rarified air of last postseason when he earned his new contract.
With 10 games remaining, half of them against division rivals, Flacco knows the AFC North can be won for the third consecutive season.
"I have to be better, and we all have to be better or we're not going to win football games," Flacco said.
He'll forget about the gaudy stats and focus on the Steelers. But first, he'll review this performance.
"It was overall not good. We couldn't get anything done. We can't expect to play that bad for that long and win," Flacco said.