The Baltimore Ravens’ struggles on offense seem to be never ending. Week 1, it was the receivers. Week 2, the run game took a hit. Week 3, it seemed to be the offensive line. Week 4, it was the quarterback.
Joe Flacco threw a career-high five interceptions in Sunday’s 23-20 loss to the Buffalo Bills. Prior to Sunday’s game, Flacco had only thrown 2 interceptions in the 2013 season, both of which were in the season opener against the Denver Broncos.
The first interception came with 5:37 minutes left in the first quarter. Flacco tried to connect with wide receiver Tandon Doss on a 3rd and 7 situation. Doss, like every other Ravens receiver on that play, was tightly covered. Flacco tried to force the pass between two Bills defenders, but it ultimately led to the first interception of the game and a Bills field goal, making the score 6-0.
The second interception came about four minutes into the second quarter. Flacco threw down the middle for Ed Dickson. The ball bounced off of Dickson’s hands and straight up. Former Ravens safety Jim Leonhard came down with the ball on the Ravens 29 yard line. The Bills would go on to score a touchdown after the interception and extend their lead to 20-7.
Just over four minutes into the second half, Flacco looked toward the Ravens top wide receiver Torrey Smith in the back of the end zone, but it was picked off by Bills safety Aaron Williams, notching his second pick of the day. Prior to the Bills interception, Ravens linebacker Daryl Smith had just picked off a pass from Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel to set the offense up with a scoring opportunity. But a forced pass led to a Bills interception in the end zone. The Bills went scoreless on the drive following the pick.
Interception number four came with five minutes left in the third quarter. Flacco was looking toward rookie receiver Marlon Brown in the middle of the field. Brown and Doss crossed paths in their routes and caused some chaos for the Bills defenders. But with the routes intersecting, it caused congestion at midfield, allowing Bills linebacker Kiko Alonso to intercept the ball. The Bills took three points from the drive after the interception.
The fifth and final pick came late in the fourth out of a moment of desperation from Flacco. Despite the four interceptions that had already been thrown, the Ravens found a way to rally and have one last chance to win the game. With 1:04 left on the clock, the score was 23-20 in favor of the Bills. The Ravens had the ball on the Bills 48 and were trying to move the chains to at least get the ball in field goal range. Flacco threw the ball to tight end Dallas Clark about 14 yards downfield. The pass was high and the ball tipped off of Clark’s fingers. As fate would have it for the Ravens that day, Alonso came down the with the ball and the game would end in a 23-20 Bills victory.
Flacco told the media that the loss was mainly due to his performance.
“We’re definitely going to get better,” Flacco said. “A lot of that falls on me today just throwing to the wrong team.”