Joe Flacco: the USA’s Number-One Welfare Recipient
November 29, 2012
(The following is part two of a series.)
Operator: Hello, Baltimore Police Department.
Caller: Hi, I’d like to report a robbery.
Operator: Sorry to hear. What was the amount stolen?
Caller: Oh, it’s well into the millions by now.
Operator: OK, sir. Could you provide a description of the perpetrator?
Caller: He’s about six-feet six, two-hundred forty pounds.
Operator: All right. Any unique features or characteristics?
Caller: Yeah, a unibrow.
Operator: Excuse me?
Caller: You know, one of those deals where both eyebrows grow together.
Operator: Oh, well that sounds a lot like our own – hey, wait a minute!
Caller: Oops, gotta go! (Click)
I thought after the Sunday Night game in Pittsburgh Flacco had stolen a paycheck, but after watching clips of the Ravens/Chargers game, I downright thought the FBI should’ve been called. At Heinz, Cool Hand Lukewarm put up a whopping 164 pass yards en route to a thoroughly average 75.5 rating, then stood around and watched the kick returner take the win. But Sunday’s game in San Diego took the proverbial cake – this was likely the single greatest charitable gift in NFL history.
Let’s set the scene: it’s 4th and 29 with two minutes left, Ravens down by three. It’s either convert, or game over. At the snap, Average Joe looks downfield, then meekly dumps off – that’s right, dumps off – a one-yard pass to his number-one benefactor, Ray Rice. Well, boys and girls, that’s it, game over. Or at least it should have been.
Tossing a one-yarder when you need 29 is waving the white flag. This, quite possibly, is the single most chicken-shit play I’ve ever seen made by a so-called NFL quarterback.
But what happens? Thanks to a ridiculous spot, a blown block-in-the-back non-call, and a complete batshit collapse by the defense, Rice actually manages to make all 29 yards – resulting in one of the all-time great NFL fluke plays.
What are the odds of making 29 yards out of a one-yard dump-off? Put it this way – I think the guys who played Power Ball this week had a more realistic shot.
If this had been a Stillers QB pulling this kind of stunt, I’d have been screaming. I don’t care if the team squeaked out the win, I’d be all over that guy for making such a stupid, spineless move. I figured the Ravens fans would be roasting Joe Average, but instead, what do I find? Posts like these on their message boards:
“Way to step of (sic) Flacco, hell of a 4th and OT. This team finds a way to win.”
That’s an actual quote I am not making up! Far from grilling their boy, they’re… celebrating his gutsy performance? What do they do there in Baltimore: substitute LSD for fluoride in the drinking water? Are Ravens fans really dumb-yutz enough to pat him on the back for dumping off one freakin’ yard on 4th and 29 -- convert or game over?
This play perfectly sums up Ravens football: Flacco watches while Rice does all the work. Then both guys split the glory. I have never seen a single play in football where the QB has gotten so much credit for doing so little. Already it’s being hyped as “the play of the year” – the Average One was responsible for exactly 1/29th of it.
Good thing for Joe that Romney didn’t win the election – his first act as President no doubt would have been to cut off all Flacco funding. The Ravens aren’t running a football program, they’re running an entitlement program – with Joe Flacco the number-one beneficiary. Wall Street has nothing on this kind of bailout package.
So what does all this mean? Combined with the Stillers’ slop-and-slather loss at Cleveland, this fluke Ravens win basically ends any hopes of a division title in Pittsburgh. Moving forward, the Stillers should treat Sunday Night’s game for what it is: an exhibition.
UPDATE: Looks like Flacco has at least owned up. The Baltimore Sun ran an article called “Flacco admits Ray Rice saved him.” Here’s Mr. Charity Collector’s take on things:
“We got away with one and I’ll be glad. I could have looked like a big-time idiot if we don’t get that play,” Flacco said. “I kind of went out on a limb there to check the ball down on fourth-and-29. We don’t get that, everybody is crushing me: ‘What the hell is he doing checking the ball down on fourth-and-29?’ I don’t think that will ever happen again in the time that I play and it gets converted, especially on a check down like that. I am just happy it happened.”
“WE” got away with one? Uh huh. But at least Flacco admits how much he was carried here, and how ridiculous a move it was. Funny though how when things almost fail out it’s “we” but the pronoun is “I” when it comes to contract negotiations.
Even funnier is Rice’s quote on how his teammates themselves went crazy after seeing this mockery of quarterbacking:
“It was actually remarkable to see our defense,” Rice said. “This is the funniest thing: When I got back on the plane, the defense said when Joe checked it down, the defense was like, ‘What the heck are we doing?’
What the heck?, indeed. So please, the next time someone tries to tell you how ‘elite’ Flacco is, refer them to above.
So then -- there’s no need now to rush back Roethlisberger or anyone else on the injury bubble. Thanks to the great Fluke-o Flacco play, the race now is between the Stillers and Cincinnati – for a wild-card spot.
Last year the Stillers rushed back Ben in a Monday Night game at San Francisco. Roethlisberger took a pounding, and never recovered. Come playoff time he was hobbled and not even close to being himself. The result was an early exit and the shame of losing to a team quarterbacked by Tim Tebow.
Football isn’t like any other sport. You follow a baseball or basketball team, you pretty much take for granted they’ll finish the year with the same line-up. Not so in the NFL, where losing guys to injury is a weekly occurrence. I’ve often said winning the Super Bowl is 50 percent about skill, and 50 percent about keeping your top players healthy. When you’re a franchise-QB-driven team like the Stillers, keeping Roethlisberger upright for the playoffs is priority number one.
The networks are already promoting Sunday’s game as the “game of the year” for Pittsburgh. Nothing could be further from the truth. All week long I’ve been hearing that Ben might go depending on his arm strength, or this, or that – meaning he’s not fully ready. Jeopardizing the post-season for a better chance to win one game isn’t worth the risk. Especially given the fact that the o-line is being shuffled around like a deck of cheap cards this week.
Rushing back Roethlisberger to play the Ravens after what happened last Sunday, in my opinion, would be a mistake. It would simply be repeating last year’s errors.
So what do you do if you’re the Stillers? Well I’ll tell you what I’d do.
First, I’d announce that playing Ben will be a game-time decision. I’d let the Ravens spend all week preparing to face both Roethlisberger and Charlie Batch.
Then I’d run out Brian Hoyer come game time.
Yes, Brian Hoyer.
Yeah, I know, he’s green, but according to what I’ve read, he’s actually more familiar with this offense than Batch or Leftwich. Plus, the Stillers need to start auditioning back-ups for Ben: what better way to see what a guy can do than against the Stillers’ top rivals? The back-up has to be ready at a moment’s notice to come in and play – this is an ideal stage to see what Hoyer can do.
We know what Batch can do. I know after watching him Sunday, I’d like to see somebody else out there. I’ve seen Hoyer play college ball, and I liked what I saw. I’d like now to see what he can do in the pros.
Tell the kid there’s no pressure, we’ll call a fair amount of run plays, and you don’t have to win this one – we just want to see how you fare. Besides, with the defense playing the way it has been lately, the game is winnable simply if Hoyer doesn’t melt down. The Ravens aren’t a great team this season – if Leftwich doesn’t hurt himself early on in the first meeting, the Stillers win that game. And if Wallace keeps his feet in bounds on that fade, we’re talking about one of the gutsiest QB performances in Stillers’ history.
At the very least, get Hoyer ready should Batch look as ineffective Sunday as he did in Cleveland. Again, the best way to support Hoyer is to not allow the Ravens to prepare for him. Then, turn him loose.
Here’s what we know about the Stillers: even making eight turnovers they can still only lose by 6 to Cleveland. Any kind of offensive improvement and they’re back to being contenders in what’s a wide-open NFL this season. Who’s the top team: the Texans, whose defense lately has been getting grilled? The Packers, who got pounded by the Giants, who lost to the… Stillers? Like I said, keep your guys healthy for the playoffs, and it’s anybody’s game. But you’ve got to arrive there safely.
You give Ben one more week to rest. Then let him handle the 4-game run that will determine if the Stillers make the playoffs. Each game is winnable. The Chargers look to be doing their usual late-season collapse, and Cleveland is still Cleveland. Dallas still has Tony Choke-o behind center, which leaves one more biggie with the Bengals, whom the Stillers have already beaten – even a tie would work in Pittsburgh’s favor.
But again, you have to look at the bigger picture.
You save your guys Sunday. Then you wait and pray you get to face the Ravens in the playoffs – this time with Roethlisberger. When it really matters.
Start Brian Hoyer. Then start the second season afterwards.
For Stillers.com, this is PalmerSucks – and I’m wack-o for Flacco!
One note: sorry to see that David Gilreath was picked up by Tampa Bay after being released by the Stillers this week.
(Donations to the “Joe Flacco 4th and 29 Fund” can be sent to 1 M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD 21230. Unfortunately, they are not tax deductible.)