WASHINGTON — The Baltimore Ravens might have won the battle during their matchup against the St. Louis Rams 16-13 on Sunday but it looks like they may lose the war without quarterback Joe Flacco.
All season long, it seems that the Ravens have been bitten by the bad-luck bug. Yet they were able to stay afloat – although wins were hard to come by – with head coach John Harbaugh’s right-hand man, Flacco.
But disaster struck on Sunday.
Flacco, who has started 122 games since his rookie year in 2008, will have to sit out the rest of the season due to a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee.
“It’s tough,” Flacco said in a press conference after the game. “I don’t think it’s totally set in yet, but it’s the nature of the game, man.”
After losing players, such as Steve Smith Sr., Terrell Suggs and Breshad Perriman the bad-luck bug wasn’t satisfied until it bit the quarterback.
“Stuff like this happens,” Flacco said. “You just have to stand tall and get through it.”
While a last-second field goal by kicker Justin Tucker helped secure a Ravens victory, the win came with some consequences and more than one major injury.
For running back Justin Forsett, his misfortune came during the first half of the game when a tackle by Rams defensive end Aaron Donald broke Forsett’s arm.
“That’s something I never want to see,” running back Buck Allen said. “It hurts to see somebody put in that much work and get hurt.”
“I kind of looked over his body and just saw his forearm and said, ‘OK. I’m not looking at that anymore,’” Flacco said.
But little did Flacco know that fate was also waiting for him.
With less than a minute on the clock, Flacco was knocked down after Rams defensive end Matt Longacre pushed 312-pound left tackle James Hurst to the ground and into Flacco.
Although he was in pain, Flacco remained on the field.
“He finished the whole series with two completely torn ligaments and stayed on the field with the clock running, because he knew if he comes off, now we have clock issues,” Harbaugh said.
“I wanted to win a game,” Flacco said. I said, ‘Oh OK, let’s hang out here and see what I can do.’ I don’t know if that was the best thing, but it’s just a reaction.”
Flacco’s cool, calm and collected demeanor walking off the field showcased his toughness.
“He’s an iron man, Harbaugh said. “I told the team he’s an absolute iron man, warrior-type of a player out there.”
But what’s next for Baltimore?
Monday night’s ESPN game against the Cleveland Browns will be Harbaugh’s first time without Flacco as his quarterback in eight-and-a-half years.
The matchup at FirstEnergy Stadium is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. and will decide which team can dig itself out of last place in the AFC North.
“We’ll be fine as a football team,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll bounce back, that’s what you do.”