Thursday, January 19, 2012

Decisions That Don't Work Are Not Always Bad Decisions -- Got That, Ed?!

The oddest thing about Ed Reed's criticism of Joe Flacco is how inaccurate it was. Why it makes you think Hall of Fame defensive backs have some innate prejudice against quarterbacks, even their own.

As has been recounted quite a bit in Boston media this week, Reed said that Ravens QB Flacco got "rattled" in Baltimore's 20-13 playoff victory against the Texans. This was a mystifying choice of words. No one would use the word "stellar" to describe Flacco's play in that game, but "rattled" is le mot injuste.

Flacco spent almost the entire game unable to move the Baltimore offense more than about 12 yards a possession. He was sacked early and often, threw some incompletions lucky to hit the field turf and generated about a half's worth of three and outs. It took a modest fourth quarter rally by Flacco to allow him to finish with more passing yards than Tim Tebow had against the Patriots.

Still, Flacco's stone mediocre passing line of 14 for 27 good for 176 yards also contains two touchdown passes. Flacco neither fumbled nor threw an interception. For that matter, the Ravens had no turnovers and not a single penalty. No false starts, no holding, etc.

Those are not "rattled" numbers. Offenses led by "rattled" quarterbacks don't have penalty-free games. Flacco had the numbers of a competent quarterback facing a superior defense playing close or at its capabilities and making the best of that bad situation. Flacco did an excellent job of choosing the least worst option available on passing plays. Sacks are about 100 times less damaging to an offense than interceptions. Three and outs are about the same. They hurt, but they're flesh wounds compared to turnovers -- as the Texans themselves proved beyond reasonable doubt.

I think what Reed meant to say was that the Texans gave Flacco an unpleasant afternoon, and that he hoped his quarterback knows that 176 yards in the air isn't going to get it done in New England this Sunday. And that's when the fact that deep down Ed Reed hates all quarterbacks took control.

I wonder what Reed used to say about Kyle Boller?


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