Joe Flacco still has not learned the art of sliding gracefully.
The Ravens quarterback capped an 11-yard scramble late in the second quarter of Monday night’s 23-16 win over the Houston Texans with an awkward slide that tore a chunk of the turf and broke the brace around his left knee.
The damaged brace forced Flacco to the sideline, which compelled coach John Harbaugh to use the team’s second of three timeouts with 1:14 left before halftime. Backup quarterback Ryan Mallett warmed up, but Flacco returned for the very next play.
The play reminded many Ravens fans of when Flacco – who wears the brace to protect the knee he had surgically repaired in 2015 – broke the brace when he slid after a run against the Pittsburgh Steelers in a 21-14 win on Nov. 6, 2016. Three weeks later, his brace got caught in the grass again against the Cincinnati Bengals in a 19-14 victory.
Asked how many knee braces he has been through, Flacco replied, “It’s two. It’s definitely a lot easier to slide without it. So they had a backup one for me, and I didn’t put it back on. So it was quicker at the time just to take that one off and get back in the game.”
Flacco conceded that he has considered playing without the brace.
“I’ve thought about it, but it’s still in the back of my head to just, whatever, put it on,” he said. “It’s not that big of a deal to wear it.”
Flacco cemented the win against Houston with a 25-yard gain down the left side at the two-minute mark of the fourth quarter. But he slid without any complications.
Coach John Harbaugh, who has publicly lobbied for Flacco to alter his sliding style, seemed content to let his quarterback do what he does.
“Joe blames the knee brace, and he swears he knows how to slide well. He’s adamant about it,” Harbaugh said. “[Orioles manager] Buck Showalter – I think I got a text from Buck saying that he’s available to show him [how to slide]. That doggone knee brace, that’s getting in the way too much. We have to figure something out there. I thought Joe played a really courageous game. He made some plays with his legs that were just critical plays in the football game. That was pretty awesome.”
End zone: With Monday night’s win, the Ravens have won an NFL-best 10 consecutive prime-time games at home. They are now 8-5 on Monday night under Harbaugh. … Houston, which entered the game ranked sixth in the league in rushing at 128.5 yards per game, was limited to a season-low 66 yards. That is the second-fewest total surrendered by the Ravens in 2017. … The Ravens improved to 17-7 in their all-black jerseys. Under Harbaugh, they are 9-2 in all-black apparel.