Shaky O-line stabilizes in time to help Flacco

Shaky O-line stabilizes in time to help Flacco
November 26, 2012, 8:30 pm
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The last time Joe Flacco played at the San Diego Chargers, he tasted dirt seven times.

That happened in a 34-14 loss at Qualcomm Stadium last season.

It appeared to be another one of those games Sunday as the Ravens quarterback was sacked a season-high five times.

The pocket protection stabilized when Flacco needed it most, however, and he threw for 296 yards in the second half to bring the Ravens from behind for a 16-13 overtime victory.

When the Ravens trailed 10-0 at halftime, they’d amassed just 90 yards on 32 plays.

Ray Rice had 45 yards on nine carries, a 5.0 average. He finished with 97 on 22 carries.

But the 25th-ranked defense forced the Chargers into consecutive three-and-out series to start the second half. The Ravens’ offense had a few more chances to turn around a game that was in danger of getting away from them.

"We ran the ball effectively. If you run the ball, that’s your best friend in pass protection," center Matt Birk said. "Maybe we didn’t have a lot to show for it until the very end but in the second half we certainly played a lot better and did a better job of controlling the line of scrimmage."

Flacco was dropped for a 9-yard loss that stopped a drive at San Diego’s 34 in the first quarter. He was sacked twice in the second. With the Ravens at their own 41 in the third quarter, a sack ruined that drive.

From 9:36 of the third for the rest of the game, Flacco’s only trouble came when he fumbled on Antwan Barnes' hit in the fourth quarter. That sack on third-and-long led to the 4th-and-29 play that was converted by Ray Rice to tie the score at 13 and force the overtime period.

There weren’t any significant adjustments made to the blocking scheme to secure Flacco. They simply played better along the offensive line. Flacco wasn’t sacked in overtime.

Jah Reid, a second-year player, started his second game in a row at left guard for Bobbie Williams (ankle), who was inactive. Reid didn’t start a game as a rookie and had to overcome a calf strain that had dogged him in the preseason and kept him inactive until recently.

"We just settled down, stuck to our fundamentals," said Reid, playing his fourth game this season. "We didn’t change much. We just knew we had to do better."