For the first time since he suffered the torn ACL against the then St. Louis Rams on November 22nd, 2015, Baltimore Ravens starting quarterback Joe Flacco made his long awaited return to live in game action. Many wondered why the Ravens would play him and possibly risk further injury. Things didn't get any easier when Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo went down with a fracture in his back after being hit from behind by Seattle Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril, and is now lost for 6-10 weeks.
Luckily for the Ravens, aside from not having a touchdown drive, it was a successful return for Flacco. While the first play of this game will forever be remembered as the play that knocked starting tight end Benjamin Watson out of the 2016 season with a torn Achilles, it was important to see Flacco bomb it up to newly signed wide receiver Mike Wallace. Yes, the pass wasn't completed, but it was a sign that Flacco is back and judging from training camp and watching this game, he might've found a new favorite target.
Every preseason the third game is always important, game planning comes into play and starters play the entire first half. Many expected Flacco to play the whole first half but that wasn't the case, as Flacco played in just 2 drives spanning only the 1st quarter. Despite this, Flacco was sharp and precise against the Detroit Lions starting defense led by former Ravens defensive linemen Haloti Ngata. Flacco showed great chemistry with Wallace, completing three passes to Wallace for a total of 37 yards. Wallace was targeted early and often, raising expectations from this duo once the regular season begins.
It wasn't just his chemistry with Wallace and receiver Kamar Aiken, there were other major things Flacco did in this game coming back from the ACL injury. Things like moving in and out of the pocket and, most importantly, getting hit, sacked, and getting right back up to truly get back into the feel of the NFL. Taking a sack was one of Flacco's goals for this game.
Flacco finished the day completing 11 out of 16 passes for 97 yards. The two drives ending with a Justin Tucker field goal and a turnover on downs. The Ravens and their fans saw what they needed to see and Flacco was pulled after one quarter of play.
For the Baltimore Ravens, Flacco's return could not have gone any better.
Joe Flacco is back.