Are the Ravens good enough offensively for the playoffs?
As Joe Flacco was helped up gingerly by Ray Rice after being hit just below the left knee on Monday night, the Ravens were suddenly staring at something they have hardly ever seen: an injured Flacco.
Flacco has never been the most consistent quarterback, and he certainly has plenty of detractors, but no one can question his durability. He has been a constant, driving force behind the Ravens’ run of five straight trips to the playoffs.
Flacco has not missed a start in his career, a string that, including the postseason, reached 107 straight games Monday night at Detroit. This despite being pounded frequently. Flacco has been sacked 42 times this season and hammered numerous other times behind a revamped offensive line.
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-- Flacco’s streak of ranks third among active quarterbacks behind Eli Manning (160) and Philip Rivers (133).
-- Flacco’s streak ranks eighth in NFL history among quarterbacks. He passed Dan Marino (99) earlier this season and is closing in on former Bills star Joe Ferguson (110) for No. 7 all-time. Brett Favre holds the record at 321 straight starts.
-- In Flacco’s career, the Browns have used 11 different starting quarterbacks.
-- Since Flacco entered the league in 2008, Ben Roethlisberger has started every game in a season just once, and Tom Brady missed 15 games in 2008.
It was a hit on Brady that led to the so-called “Brady rule,” which prohibits defensive players who are on the ground from going after a quarterback’s knees. Brady missed virtually all of the 2008 season after former Raven Bernard Pollard, then with the Chiefs, hit Brady in the left knee.
Flacco was hit when Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy broke through the line, fell down, and then hit Flacco with his helmet just below the left knee. Flacco’s left leg bent awkwardly and he was helped to his feet by Rice but did not miss a snap.
“I was probably more scared than anything from just what I felt and also just trying to get a couple of yards out of it,” Flacco said after the game. “Yeah, it feels fine. It feels strong.”
Flacco is expected to be limited in practice this week, but on Sunday afternoon, with the Ravens’ playoff hopes in the balance, expect him to be out there starting consecutive game No. 108.
“Joe Flacco is one tough guy,” coach John Harbaugh said.