Flacco's snap calls fool Texans

Flacco's snap calls fool Texans
September 22, 2013, 6:45 pm
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For much of Sunday’s game, while the Ravens sputtered on offense, their most effective, consistent weapon came from quarterback Joe Flacco. Not his arm. Not his legs. His mouth.

Using the old “hard count” ploy — kind of the football equivalent of baseball’s hidden-ball trick — Flacco drew the Texans offside five times in the Ravens’ 30-9 victory over Houston. It’s not necessarily called “offside” according to the official record; it can be termed “encroachment” or a “neutral zone infraction.” But whatever you call it, that’s 5 free yards for the offense, courtesy of Flacco making the eager defenders overeager, believing he is calling for the snap before he actually is.

That 5 yards per play was far better than the Ravens’ rushing average on Sunday (2.4) and nearly as good as their average per pass play (counting sacks) at 6.2.

And the bonus yards came in handy. In the second quarter, during the Ravens’ 11-play drive to their first score, Justin Tucker’s 28-yard field goal, the call against the Texans turned a third-and-10 into a third-and-five, which the Ravens then converted on a 9-yard pass play. On Baltimore’s first drive of the fourth quarter, Flacco caught the Texans twice, helping to advance a 13-play march that put up another field goal by Tucker, this one from 45 yards that made it a comfortable, three-score lead for the Ravens.

And Houston learned how snap judgments can get you in trouble.