It certainly didn't matter for Joe Flacco, not after the Ravens fell to 0-2 for the first time in his career. However, his 384 passing yards in the Ravens' 37-33 loss to the Oakland Raiders on Sunday were the fourth most in a single game in franchise history, and just five shy of his career high.
Vinny Testaverde still holds the franchise record for most passing yards in a game with 429 against the St. Louis Rams in October 1996. Flacco now lays claim to the next four most prolific days for a Ravens quarterback.
He threw for 389 yards, also against the Rams, in September of the 2011 season. Against the Minnesota Vikings in October 2009, Flacco racked up 385 yards. Rounding out the top five was his 384-yard performance yesterday and his 382 yards against the New England Patriots in September 2012.
"I thought we came out swinging," Flacco said after the game. "I thought our offensive line did a great job protecting, creating some holes in there. It was a combination of a lot of things. I thought we played well today, but it wasn't good enough."
In the days after a 19-13 loss to the Denver Broncos in which Flacco had just 100 net passing yards, the quarterback said the offense needed to take more shots down the field.
The Ravens did just that against a banged-up and highly suspect Raiders secondary. Against the Broncos, Flacco completed just one pass over 20 yards, a 22-yard sideline completion to Marlon Brown. Yesterday, Flacco had eight pass plays of 20 yards or more: four to Steve Smith Sr. (37, 22, 20 and 23), two to Crockett Gillmore (26, 38) and two to Kamar Aiken (26, 38).
Flacco also took several other deep shots that fell incomplete. It was evident from the first drive that Marc Trestman's offensive unit was focused on throwing the ball down the field more. It certainly helped that the offensive line gave Flacco time for most of the afternoon.
The Ravens quarterback wasn't sacked at all, and the Raiders were credited in the box score with just one quarterback hit. Ravens offensive tackles James Hurst and Rick Wagner, who were challenged to play better earlier in the week by coach John Harbaugh, contained Aldon Smith and Khalil Mack.
Smith had one tackle and one quarterback hit. Mack, regarded as one of the top young defensive players in the NFL, finished with just one tackle for a loss. Advantage Hurst and Wagner.
"All I can say is just overall being confident in my ability," Hurst said. "I played a great rusher again today and I had a better game, but it could have been better. We could have scored five more points to win."
Flacco expressed a similar sentiment. He completed 32 of 45 passing attempts and had two touchdowns, and he threw his only interception as he tried to get his offense down the field in the last 30 seconds.
His 102.5 quarterback rating speaks of a pretty productive afternoon in the Bay Area. However, Flacco left some plays on the field, too. He badly underthrew Aiken, who had beaten his defender by five yards, in the first quarter, turning a potential walk-in touchdown into an incompletion. He also couldn't get the ball out far enough to Darren Waller in the second quarter when it appeared the rookie had a step on his defender.
Then, there was the incompletion to Smith on the Ravens' final scoring drive. Smith was wide open after the Oakland defensive back fell down. But Flacco put a little too much loft on the pass and Smith couldn't get his feet in bounds to make the tough touchdown catch. Instead, the Ravens settled for the field goal and Ravens fans know what happened next.
"No matter how well or how bad you play, when you have a chance of winning and you come up a little bit too short, it obviously hits you a little bit," Flacco said. "It stinks."