The Miami Dolphins were riding high coming into yesterday afternoon with a six game winning streak. They then ran into a wall. The Baltimore Ravens put on their best performance of the season dominating the Dolphins 38-6 at M&T Bank Stadium, especially on offense. Joe Flacco and company tallied for 496 yards and 5 touchdowns, while the Ravens quarterback completed 36 of his 47 passes for 381 yards and 4 touchdowns to help the Ravens to a landslide win. The interesting thing about this game is not what happened during it, its what happened before it.
According to the Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zreibec, Joe Flacco and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg got into it during a quarterbacks meeting on the Tuesday after the Ravens defeated the Cincinnati Bengals. The story goes Mornhinweg was unhappy with some comments Flacco made after the victory over the Bengals about the offense being too conservative. Flacco said the following:
"I feel like we lost our tempo in the second half, and it kind of hurt us a little bit. Early on, we had a good tempo, we were able to get in good rhythm and just keep putting pressure on them. I felt like they were feeling a little bit of pressure early on, and for whatever reason, we kind of, in the second half, weren't able to do that."
Mornhinweg has been an offensive coach in college and in the NFL for a total of 31 years, including being a quarterbacks coach for the Green bay Packers and an offensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers and New York Jets. So you can see how Mornhinweg was not very pleased with his quarterback's comments to the media.
At the meeting, Mornhinweg went after Flacco right back for his comments. Flacco followed that by airing his grievances to his offensive coordinator, saying that the only way for this offense to succeed and go far this season, is to be more aggressive. The two proceeded to go at each other and judging by the team's game plan yesterday, they decided to go with Flacco's route. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh commented on his franchise quarterback and offensive coordinator's argument saying, "Iron sharpens iron. We challenge each other, and everybody is able to do it in a way that makes each other better." That's always been the Baltimore Ravens. Always demanding the best out of each other no matter the circumstance.
This isn’t the first time Flacco has spoken his mind about the lack of aggressiveness in the team’s offense over the course of his career. Back in the 2011 season finale in Cincinnati, NFL Films caught a frustrated Flacco tell former offensive coordinator Cam Cameron on the sidelines "I'm not trying to argue with you. I'm just telling you what we need to do."
On that day, the AFC North division and the Ravens positioning in the playoffs was on the line and Flacco knew the kind of offense they had to be in order to reach the Super Bowl once the playoffs started. Ironically enough, in the AFC Championship game the very next year later, Harbaugh and then offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell decided to open up the offense in the second half and put the ball in Flaccos hands. Flacco and the offense wound up scoring 21 points in that second half to clinch a flight to New Orleans for Super Bowl XLVII.
With four games remaining in the season, including a date with the New England Patriots next Monday night, the Ravens must hope this offense can maintain this momentum. The fact of the matter is, the momentum of this offense will fall on the shoulders of both Marty Mornhinweg and Joe Flacco.