clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

4000: A passing number the Ravens have only broken twice

We all thought it would be Joe Flacco, but this year's four headed monster has accomplished what no Ravens quarterbacks have done in almost 20 years...

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Ravens inaugural season featured a team that won few games, but had one of the best passing offenses Baltimore has seen. Throwing to Michael Jackson and Derrick Alexander, quarterback Vinny Testeverde finished the season with 4177 yards (backup Eric Zeier had 97 yards) on 59.2% passing, with 33 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. Those 4274 yards by the two Ravens quarterbacks would be the only time the team compiled over 4000 yards at the quarterback position, not to mention the only year the team featured two 1000 yard receivers over the first 19 seasons.

This season, which marks the Ravens 20th year in the league, the team has featured 4 different quarterbacks. Ironically, this is the first time since the Ravens inaugural season that Ravens quarterbacks combined for over 4000 yards. In order to break 4000, the starting quarterback must average over 250 yards per game for 16 games. The Ravens have started 4 quarterbacks, and 3 of them all have averaged over that mark. Flacco (10 starts- 279.1 Y/G), Schaub (2 starts- 270 Y/G), Clausen (2 starts- 185 Y/G), and Mallett (1 start- 274 yards) have all combined to average enough Y/G that the team is at 4157 passing yards with one more game to go. All the quarterbacks but Clausen have completed over 64 % of their passes too, above Flacco's previous career high of 63.1%.

This all bodes well for offensive coordinator Marc Trestman, although some of the increased production can be attributed to the increased emphasis on the passing game, and the decreased rushing attempts.  However, as the season has gone along, we have seen improvements in the passing game despite the decreasing skill level of the battered receiving group. Out of the 6 receivers on the opening game roster, only one is left standing: Kamar Aiken. Steve Smith Sr., Breshad Perriman, Michael Campanaro, Darren Waller are all on IR, and Marlon Brown hasn't played the last 6 games due to ineffectiveness and a back injury. There have also been injuries along the offensive line (Zuttah, Monroe, Osemele, Wagner), at running back (Forsett, Taliaferro), and tight end (Gillmore, Maxx Williams, and Boyle-suspension), all of which have not prevented the passing attack from humming along, despite the constant changes at quarterback.

The closest the Ravens quarterbacks have come was 2012, when Joe Flacco started all 16 games and threw for 3817 yards, and backup Tyrod Taylor played most of the meaningless week 17 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, throwing for 179 yards for a grand total of 3996 yards, narrowly missed 4000. Of course, 4000 is an arbitrary number, but it is interesting to me that in year 1 and year 20 this mark was broken. Sometimes, milestones which for years have not been broken, once crossed are crossed many times in the subsequent seasons. The home run record is one such example of this. So hopefully this will be another one of those numbers