A Ravens QB not named Joe Flacco will start for the first time since 2007

Remember the last quarterback to start for the Ravens not named Joe Flacco?

With Joe Flacco shelved for the final six games of this season with a torn ACL (and perhaps MCL), the Ravens will have a different starter at quarterback for the first time since 2007.

Troy Smith started against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Dec. 30 that year and completed 16 of 27 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown in a 27-21 win. He started the previous week, too, a 27-6 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Since then, Flacco started a team-record 122 straight games, threw 162 touchdown passes (also a record) and was named Super Bowl XLVII Most Valuable Player.

He's the franchise leader in just about every important passing category and was on pace to throw for more than 4,000 yards in a season for the first time in his career.

This wasn't Flacco's best year -- two puzzling interceptions on Sunday highlight that -- but he was still the Ravens' top playmaker, especially with wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. and linebacker Terrell Suggs already out for the season with Achilles tendon injuries.

His season ends with 2,791 passing yards, 14 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions. He threw for 299 yards Sunday, so he missed setting a new single-season team record for most 300-yard passing games by a yard.

He also was the Ravens' de facto short-yardage running back and scored three rushing touchdowns this season, which tied a career high set in 2012.

The interceptions -- thrown with greater frequency than every season in his career except his 22-pick campaign in 2013 -- hurt the Ravens this year. But it was also because of him that they had a shot to win every game during this 3-7 disaster.

Matt Schaub, a former Pro Bowl passer who has played 139 games in 12 NFL seasons, presumably becomes the starting quarterback for the final six games. When signed in the offseason, he was hailed as a steady veteran backup, a great insurance policy if Flacco was injured.

That assumed, though, that there was a strong supporting cast around him. That Steve Smith Sr., Justin Forsett, Breshad Perriman and a healthy offensive line would be playing offense, too.

Since that won't be the case, the 34-year-old Schaub's starts seem likely to fade into the Ravens record books, forgotten performances for a last-place team team near the bottom of the division standings playing out the string of a disappointing season.

They'll be just like those starts by Troy Smith in 2007.

apyles@baltsun.com

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