Joe Flacco looks in midseason form this preseason, which is a very positive sign for the Ravens.
In his longest stint so far, Flacco directed the Ravens’ first three offensive series and capped his night in style, leading them on a six-play, 67-yard touchdown drive.
The scoring play was a 7-yard pass from Flacco to wide receiver John Brown, who made a stellar reception, controlling a pinpoint pass by Flacco while tiptoeing near the back of the end zone.
The Flacco-to-Brown connection could be a key to the Ravens offense. They have looked good together in practice and seem to have developed quick chemistry since the Ravens signed Brown during the offseason. On the first play of the game, Flacco went deep to Brown, who was streaking down the middle of the field. The pass fell incomplete, but Brown’s threat as a legitimate deep play target will force defenses to respect the strength of Flacco’s arm.
"It was good to get down there and get a score at the end and get a little taste for what John [Brown] can do and get all those guys involved a little bit," Flacco said.
"[The Colts] were just splitting the middle of the field down there and you kind of run out of room in the back of the end zone, so I guess they trusted the linebacker to kind of hang with him there. But with John’s speed, I just trusted that he would get around the guy at the last minute – which he did – and just a great job by him getting his eyes on the ball and making the catch.”
Flacco’s stats for the night were impressive – 7 for 9 passing for 72 yards, 1 touchdown, and no interceptions. It remains to be seen if Flacco sees much action in the Ravens’ final two preseason games, but at this point, the Ravens’ starting quarterback clearly looks ready for Week 1. Unlike last year, when he reported to training camp with a herniated disc, Flacco has been healthy, and it has shown in his performance.
It wasn’t just Flacco and Brown who looked good for the Ravens’ first-team offense, which was without running back Alex Collins and right guard Marshal Yanda. Wide receiver Michael Crabtree made a nice 29-yard sideline reception from Flacco. It was a pretty throw by Flacco, who led Crabtree perfectly.
Buck Allen started at running back and produced 19 yards in just three carries. In his first game action since the end of the 2016 season, Kenneth Dixon ran six times for 32 yards.
However, Flacco’s performance this season could be the most important factor in the team’s success. The Ravens already know that at his best, Flacco can lead them where they hope to go. While it can be dangerous to read too much into preseason games, Flacco’s play is passing the eye test.