Flacco couldn’t catch Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris as he returned an interception 98 yards for a touchdown, leaving Flacco flat on the turf in the first half of the eventual loss.
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- Joe Flacco
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While the miscues have piled up, Flacco didn’t duck responsibility yesterday.
“All of it,” said Flacco when asked if he shoulders the blame for what's unfolded. “It starts with the quarterback, and that's the position that's looked at. You have to go look at yourself and see what you can do better in order to make everybody else around you a little bit better and in order to get our team to win.”
Flacco is under the radar this season more than ever. He is heading into the final games of his expiring rookie contract, yet he is optimistic a deal will get done when the time is right.
The sides were unable to come to an agreement in August after the Ravens offered a lucrative, multi-year contract to Flacco that was rejected with talks eventually being tabled between Flacco's agent, Joe Linta, and Pat Moriarty, the Ravens' vice president of football administration.
“Yeah, I always am [optimistic],” Flacco said. “This is a great organization and you’re always upbeat about that.”
Flacco is expected to be named the Ravens' franchise player, barring a breakthrough in contract negotiations after the season. The unresolved contract situation isn’t something Flacco dwells on, he said.
“I’m sure it’s back there somewhere, but it’s not something I’ve really thought about or really considered,” Flacco said. “I knew it wasn’t going to be a topic of conversation during the season. I kind of made that clear in my own mind at the beginning of the season.”
Teammates say they haven't noticed any difference in Flacco's confidence level despite some occasional body language on the field and sidelines that would suggest otherwise.
“He's always confident,” offensive tackle Michael Oher said. “He's a confident player, tough as nails.”
Unlike New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who has earned two Super Bowl rings, Flacco hasn't been able to advance beyond two AFC championship games.
He has garnered respect, though, from his NFL colleagues.
“Joe's been a good player, makes a lot of plays, and he's turned into a guy who seems like a good leader,” Manning said during a conference call Wednesday. “Last year, they were right there, a play away from making the Super Bowl.”
But Flacco has struggled the last three weeks.
It was Flacco who didn't step up in the pocket and got the football ripped out of his hand by Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison for a fumble that led to a game-tying score on Dec. 2.
Another strip sack the following week along with an interception while under pressure set up a pair of Redskins field goals during the Ravens' 31-28 overtime loss.
And Flacco launching an errant throw intended for wide receiver Anquan Boldin provided the opening for Harris' interception return for a touchdown during the Ravens' 34-17 loss Sunday. It was a crushing 14-point swing that the Ravens couldn't overcome.