The good news for Joe Flacco was that he broke an 11-quarter drought without a touchdown pass when wide receiver Mike Wallace turned a quick slant into a 95-yard score in the first quarter of the Ravens' 21-14 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
The bad news is that he tossed an interception on an earlier offensive possession that leaves him with more interceptions (seven) than touchdown passes (six) this season.
On third-and-10 at Pittsburgh's 22-yard line, Flacco took a snap in the shotgun formation, and rolled to his right to avoid pressure coming from his left. While moving, he lofted a throw off his back foot and across his body to tight end Dennis Pitta standing in the middle of the field. The floater was picked off by rookie cornerback Artie Burns.
In the end, the gaffe did not prove too costly, but the play was another example of the strong-armed Flacco not planting his left foot into the turf and throwing with authority.
Still, Flacco disputed that the interception was a result of poor mechanics.
"It wasn't a mechanics issue as much as it was just a bad decision," he said after Tuesday's practice. "I was hot on the left side. So I had to move away from it, and there's nothing you can do about that besides throw the ball into the ground, really."
Flacco's fundamentals and technique seem to have regressed since he posted career highs in yards (3,986) and touchdowns (27) in 2014 under former offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak. His 6.2 yards per passing attempt this season ranks as the third-lowest among starting quarterbacks.
An injury-plagued offensive line has put Flacco under more duress, which might be impacting his comfort level in the pocket. But Flacco insisted that his mechanics were not a problem in Sunday's game.
"I actually thought they were really good this week," he said. "I felt like our line did a good job, and I was able to hang in there. For the most part, I had my feet under me doing stuff. Yeah, you could say that play, but like I said, I was moving to my right hoping that I had [wide receiver] Steve [Smith Sr.], but they dropped a lineman underneath of him, and then I just made a bad decision from that point on."