Was it Joe Flacco’s fault? Interception No. 1
Welcome to a new series, where I take a comprehensive look at every one of Joe Flacco’s interceptions throughout the 2018 season.
Joe Flacco has been the unheralded starter for the Baltimore Ravens the past 10 seasons. That’s been called into question this season with the addition of rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson and it’s sparked plenty of debate over the longevity of No. 5 under center moving forward.
As OTAs progress and mandatory minicamp and training camp are around the corner, I thought it’d be interesting to take a look at every one of Flacco’s 13 interceptions thrown throughout the 2017 season. Because the last thing we need is more debate, right?
One of the main arguments in support of Flacco is that “not everything is on him.” That includes his supporting cast, coaching, and even interceptions. While Flacco is the one throwing the ball, once it’s released from his hands, it’s in the fate of the pass-catcher and defenders.
Each weekday I will go through one interception until we reach No. 13. I’ll make my verdict and give you all a chance to chime in with your vote via a poll on the Ebony Bird Twitter account. There’s definitely plenty of subjectivity in this, hopefully making for some great conversation.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at interception No. 1
Week 1: @Bengals
Up 17-0 in a Week 1 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals, Flacco tossed his first interception of the season. In the Ravens’ first drive in the third quarter, Flacco targeted running back Terrance West on a pass out of the backfield. The intended pass was deflected off of West and into the hands of Bengals linebacker Nick Vigil (No. 59).
I had to take a few looks but Carlos Dunlap (No. 96) did not get his left hand on the ball.
Austin Howard does a great job at keeping Dunlap out of the pocket but actually pushes him back into the play. Dunlap’s doesn’t tally the deflection but his presence alone causes Flacco to throw the ball behind West, forcing him to do a 360 spin to try to catch the ball.
I am a proponent that if the ball hits your hands, there’s an opportunity to catch it. Some will agree with this, some certainly won’t and it’s an example of subjectivity. In this case, West has both arms around the ball but lets it slip through his hands into the grasp of Vigil.
Next: Ravens: Examining different starting offensive line combinations
It’s not the perfect pass by any means but one West should have come down with. Luckily, this play didn’t impact the final scoreline as the Ravens went on to win in a 20-0 shutout.
The interception shouldn’t be blamed on Flacco here, at least not in my eyes.
VERDICT: Not Flacco’s Fault