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Joe Flacco reluctantly becoming Ravens' top short-yardage option

Jon Meoli
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun
Joe Flacco is 11 of 12 on third- and fourth-and-short rushes this year, by far the best on the Ravens.

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, however reluctantly, has become the team’s most effective short-yardage rusher.

The 6-foot-6 quarterback succeeded twice Sunday in those situations, gaining the Ravens’ first conversion on third-and-short in three tries with a 2-yard sneak, then converting on fourth-and-1 in the third quarter deep in his own territory.

Despite his athleticism, Flacco doesn’t relish it -- he said “it’s just part of the job.”

“I don’t mind it when we’re on the half-yard line,” said Flacco, who scored his second rushing touchdown of the season Sunday on a quarterback sneak. “At least I get credit for a touchdown. It’s a pretty cheap way to get a touchdown, a rushing touchdown on a quarterback sneak. But hey, it’s part of it, and if that’s the best way for us to get the first down or whatever, then I’m all for doing that.”

Flacco has run a team-high 12 times on third and fourth down with less than 3 yards to gain, and converted on 11. Running back Justin Forsett has succeeded seven times on 10 tries, while running back Bernard Pierce (two of four), running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (four of eight), and wide receiver Jacoby Jones (one of one) have each had short-yardage carries.

The Ravens have converted 70.1 percent of attempts on the ground, but just 48.2 percent when they try through the air. But whether it’s Flacco or one of the running backs, the quarterback said credit shouldn’t go to the ball carrier, but whoever is leading the way.

“I am a believer that it has nothing to do with me,” Flacco said. “There may be one sneak every year that maybe you had a little something to do with getting it, but it’s all about Jeremy [Zuttah], [Kelechi Osemele], Marshal [Yanda], all those guys pushing guys forward. Shoot, I put my head down, close my eyes and move forward.”

jmeoli@baltsun.com

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