Flacco misses playoffs for first time

Flacco misses playoffs for first time
December 29, 2013, 8:00 pm
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Flacco: At 8-8 we don't deserve the playoffs

In less than a year, Joe Flacco has gone from Super Bowl MVP to quarterback of an 8-8 team.  A season of great expectations is over, both for Flacco and for the Ravens. And now Flacco can expect an offseason of criticism. He threw 22 interceptions this season, a career-high, including three during Sunday’s 34-17 season-ending loss to the Ravens.

When you sign a six-year, $120.6 million contract as Flacco did during the offseason, more is expected of you. It is almost as if people expect the contract to make you play better. It does not work that way. Flacco did not perform as well this year, either did the offensive line, the running backs, or the wide receivers.  While Flacco should be motivated to perform better during the offseason, wide receiver Torrey Smith said Flacco’s offensive teammates should me motivated to give Flacco more support.

“Joe’s a warrior for us this year,” Smith said. “He’s going to take a lot of heat. It’s tough to say this, but he fought through so many things this year. He battled, he didn’t quit, he didn’t point the finger at anyone. That’s a credit to him. This offseason, we’re going get back to it, make sure we hae his back. He shouldn’t be in the position he’s in right now.”

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That position is out of the playoffs, with a banged up body. For health reasons, it might be better for Flacco to be watching the playoffs at home, rather than playing another week behind the Ravens’ offensive line. Flacco took a beating from the Bengals on Sunday, taking some vicious hits in the pocket. He was in obvious pain after one hit,  before limping off the field on his already sprained right knee.

“The guy landed on me and bent it all up into the top of my chest,” Flacco said. “It didn’t do anything to my knee that wasn’t already done, but it just hurt for awhile.”

Flacco’s pride is hurting now. He had never missed the playoffs in his previous five seasons, and had won at least one playoff game every year. Not this year. Flacco was not good enough. Neither were the Ravens. And now Flacco has a long offseason to think about it.

It’s tough, it’s disappointing, but we’re an 8-8 football team. We don’t deserve to be there. Everybody in that locker room is used to winning, used to getting in the playoffs, and giving ourselves a shot to win it all. It’s disappointing not to have done that for ourselves, but we didn’t play well enough. At 8-8 we don’t deserve to be there.”