Hopefully, that’s a nickname that will catch on throughout the Baltimore region, because that’s exactly what rookie starting quarterback Joe Flacco did for this franchise and city in yesterday’s 17-10 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
He didn’t throw a touchdown pass, but he could have, without some critical drops from Todd Heap and Ray Rice. And since he couldn’t get it through the air, he got low and ran one in. From 38 yards away. For a franchise quarterback rushing record.
And he didn’t throw an interception. Not only that, he didn’t look like he cared if one of his tosses wound up in the opponent’s hands. That’s how confident he looked in the pocket, a far cry from his preseason performances.
The defense did exactly what we thought a healthy unit was capable of; it took the ball away on turnovers, forced the issue at the line of scrimmage, and for once, traded the bend-but-don’t-break mentality from the last couple of years for a break-their-face approach.
The city is excited about this for sure. For the first time ever, the Ravens might be a team that can win because of its offense, and not in spite of it. It’s been a long time coming for the Ravens’ defense to breathe easy on the sidelines rather than anticipating an interception or fumble on any given play. Should be nice to trade in holding a helmet at the ready for a cup of Gatorade and a few laughs.
I wasn’t able to venture out into Purple City yesterday, but in today’s travels, I’ll hit a few bars at lunch to get a sense of what everyone’s thinking about Jump-Off Joe and the new-look Baltimore Ravens.