Joe Flacco is the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL, but he didn’t play like it on Sunday, throwing five interceptions in a 23-20 loss to the Bills in Buffalo.
Vinny Cerrato, however, thinks the loss – and Flacco’s poor performance – had less to do with the quarterback and more to do with the Ravens’ offensive line, which allowed four sacks and is yet to produce a 100-yard rusher (or even a 70-yard rusher).
“They’ve got to correct the offensive line,” the “Vinny and Rob” host said on The Morning Show. “I mean, the offensive line can’t get (anything going). They’re not knocking anybody off the ball, (and) they allow penetration.”
Against Buffalo, the Ravens at one point threw the ball on 27 consecutive plays. They did not attempt a single rush in the third quarter, despite the fact that it was 20-14 midway through the period. Ray Rice was Baltimore’s leading rusher – with five carries for 17 yards. Bernard Pierce rushed four times for seven yards.
That’s nine carries for 24 yards.
Flacco, meanwhile, finished 25-of-50 for 347 yards, two scores and the aforementioned five picks.
“The run game is a big part of it,” Cerrato said. “They did nothing. They did not even give the ball to Ray Rice. I understand not running the ball. I can understand. You’re down 20-7 (late in the first half). But how about Ray Rice on screen passes? He’s the best gap guy that you’ve got, and they don’t even let him touch the ball. That’s the thing that baffled me.”
Rice, who missed Week 3 with a hip injury, was targeted just once in the passing game. He did not make the catch.
Of the five picks, Cerrato pinned three on Flacco and felt the other two were out of his control. Flacco was hit 12 times on the day, and the Ravens have scored just five offensive touchdowns in their last three games.
“The offensive line is pathetic right now,” Cerrato said.
As for the Bills, Cerrato was impressed with their physicality on both sides of the ball. Disregarding E.J. Manuel’s attempts, the Bills rushed 44 times for 202 yards – 4.6 yards per carry – and a touchdown.
“I give them credit there, and I give them credit for the turnovers they got,” Cerrato said.
The Bills scored 13 points off turnovers.
Buffalo has been a much better team at home this season, which is what one might expect from a young team. The Bills are 2-1 in Buffalo with wins over Carolina and Baltimore and a last-second loss to the undefeated Patriots. Facing the Jets on the road in Week 3, however, they allowed 500+ yards of offense and eight sacks, with Manuel throwing 42 times.
Sunday was different, as Manuel was sacked just twice on 22 attempts.
“(Doug) Marrone did a good job not asking Manuel to do a lot,” Cerrato said.
The Jets would be wise to do the same with their rookie quarterback. Geno Smith had four turnovers in a 38-13 loss at Tennessee and has seven of the Jets’ eight turnovers in their two losses.
“It got ugly,” Cerrato said. “I think what you’ve got to do is dial it down. You can’t ask him to do so much.”