Over the past few years, I have always gotten excited about Joe Flacco's performances after the first few games of the season. I know Flacco's value goes far beyond the stats sheet, but as a Ravens fan, sometimes I've wanted him to put up the numbers that will shut his critics up once and for all.
He gets the wins, he gets us into the playoffs, and he has gotten the franchise a second ring. But for the detractors, as long as he puts up pedestrian numbers compared to Hall of Fame QBs in pass-happy systems, he'll always be "Average Joe."
A couple benchmarks for the success of a quarterback are ones Flacco has never reached: 4,000 yards and 30 TDs. He has gotten off to some fast starts over the years, making me think he will reach those numbers by season's end. I cut each of the past three seasons into quarters and averaged out his numbers. Games 1-4, 5-8, 9-12, and 13-16. Here is how those averages came out.
(Note: I didn't calculate his QB Rating, but averaged the numbers. I know this isn't exactly going to give an accurate number, but it's a lot easier than trying to go game by game and figure out the QB Rating formula)
- First four games: 272.75 yards, 74.375 rating
- Second four games: 269 yards, 91.425 rating
- Third four games: 206.5 yards, 77.275 yards
- Fourth four games: 229.75 yards, 60.3 rating
- First four games: 317.25 yards, 99.025 rating
- Second four games: 180.25 yards, 75.625 rating
- Third four games: 262 yards, 84.95 rating
- Fourth four games: 248.33 yards, 104.03 rating (this excludes the Cincinnati game where he mostly sat out)
- First four games: 243.25 yards, 77.45 rating
- Second four games: 195.25 yards, 74.225 rating
- Third four games: 211 yards, 84.975 rating
- Fourth four games: 178.75 yards, 92.525 rating
- First four games: 277.75 yards, 83.61 rating
- Second four games: 214.83 yards, 80.425 rating
- Third four games: 226.5 yards, 82.4 rating
- Fourth four games: 218.94 yards, 85.61 rating
Overall, Flacco has thrown for many more yards over the first quarter of the past three seasons. He averages over 50 more yards per game then during any other stretch of games. His QB rating remains steady, so this may be a result of the team focusing more on the run game as the season progresses, or it may just be small sample sizes creating coincidental results.
Again, let me say that stats never tell the whole story, and I, along with most Ravens fans, am very happy with the play of Joe Flacco.
However, it would be nice to see those fast starts extend into the rest of the season so No. 5 can start getting the credit he deserves from outsiders. With a new offensive coordinator, and a new system, along with much improved weapons in the passing game, maybe this is the year Flacco eclipses the 4,000 yards and 30 TDs so many quarterbacks are measured by these days.